In Brief

Knife crime: are police or Home Office ultimately to blame?

Police react with fury after home secretary urges Scotland Yard to ‘step up response’ to violent crime

Britain’s rising knife crime epidemic has provoked a bitter blame game between the police and Home Office.

The Independent reports that police have “reacted with fury” after being told to step up their response to violent crime by the home secretary, a day after MPs warned that cuts could have “dire consequences for public safety”.

Sajid Javid has urged Scotland Yard to make full use of police powers, including stop and search, as its officers seek to end the bloodshed.

Earlier this week London Mayor Sadiq Khan told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that solving the problem could take up to a decade.

Javid’s remarks come after five people were stabbed to death in the space of a week in London, bringing the total number killed by knife crime in the capital this year to 74.

Home Office figures released last month revealed that forces in England and Wales conducted 282,248 stops and searches in the 12 months to March, the lowest number since current data collection started 17 years ago.

The tactics have previously attracted controversy amid criticism they unfairly focused on black and minority ethnic individuals, prompting the then-home secretary Theresa May to introduce reforms back in 2014 to ensure the practice was used in a more targeted way.

The London Evening Standard reports that “since his appointment, Mr Javid has backed a boost in the use of the powers as officers and ministers attempt to bear down on spiralling levels of serious violence”.

“If stop and search means that lives can be saved from the communities most affected, then of course it's a very good thing,” he told the annual Police Superintendents' Conference in September.

However, the effectiveness of stop and search has been widely disputed.

The government's Serious Violence Strategy, published in April, acknowledges that knife crime, gun crime and homicide have all risen as stop and search has fallen, “but it dismisses any link, pointing out that knife crime fell between 2010-11 and 2013-14 - a period that also coincided with a fall in stop and search”, says the BBC.

A separate study published last year from the College of Policing published a study examining Metropolitan Police stop and search data found that higher rates of the practice, under any power, only led to “very slightly lower than expected rates of crime in the following week or month”.

Recommended

Are Royal aides out to sink Meghan Markle - or is she really a ‘bully’?
Harry and Meghan Markle
Today’s big question

Are Royal aides out to sink Meghan Markle - or is she really a ‘bully’?

‘Never before have all the main engines of European integration caught fire simultaneously’
Angela Merkel and Ursula von der Leyen in the European Parliament
Instant Opinion

‘Never before have all the main engines of European integration caught fire simultaneously’

How many people need to be vaccinated against Covid to get life back to normal?
Margaret Keenan becomes the first patient in the UK to receive the Pfizer/BioNtech vaccine
In Focus

How many people need to be vaccinated against Covid to get life back to normal?

Five things we learned from Sturgeon’s testimony to Salmond inquiry
Nicola Sturgeon gives evidence to a Scottish Parliament committee
Why we’re talking about . . .

Five things we learned from Sturgeon’s testimony to Salmond inquiry

Popular articles

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 1 March 2021
10 Downing Street
Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 1 March 2021

Best TV crime dramas to watch in 2021
Line of Duty series six returns to BBC One in 2021
In Depth

Best TV crime dramas to watch in 2021

Are Harry and Meghan pushing it with their request for press privacy?
Harry and Meghan
The latest on . . .

Are Harry and Meghan pushing it with their request for press privacy?