Untie the hands of the police, PM, and let them end scourge of knife crime

1st April 2018
is in the grip of a knife crime epidemic – and it is spreading far beyond our inner cities.
 
Hardly a day goes by without the pages of our newspapers containing stories of yet another life needlessly lost to this sickening scourge.
 
So far this year, 18 men under the age of 25 have been stabbed to death in London — including a 23-year-old, who died from his injuries after being knifed in Greenwich on Thursday.
 
The next day, a 36-year-old woman from Haringey, North London became the latest victim.
 
But carrying blades is no longer restricted to youths in the capital.
 
The routine carrying of weapons has infected leafy market towns and shire counties across the nation.
 
Cops should carry out the wishes of victims’ parents and get out there to do more searches, says former Police Minister Sir Mike PenningIn the past month, my own constituency in Hertfordshire has seen two fatal stabbings and a rape at knifepoint.
 
Last year, 37,443 offences in England and Wales involved a knife or a blade — that’s equivalent to 102 EVERY DAY.
 
It was encouraging to hear Metropolitan Police chief Cressida Dick promise an increase in use of stop and search powers.
 
She confirms my belief that many officers have lost their nerve over spot checks — but assures us she will not be cowed by political correctness in her efforts to bring down knife crime.
 
So I look forward to seeing her force, and others, carry out the wishes of victims’ parents and get out there to do more searches.
 
Fatal stabbings in England and Wales are at their highest level since 2011.
 
There were 215 deaths involving a knife or other sharp instrument in the year to March, according to the Office for National Statistics.
 
And police say the overwhelming majority have absolutely no links to gangs.
 
It is no coincidence the record rise in knife crime comes as there is a dramatic fall in the use of police stop and search powers.
 
Random spot checks have plunged 80 per cent in less than a decade, from 1.5million a year to 303,000.
 
Officers tell me that frisking a youth in the street has become too big a risk in these politically correct days.
 
And police say the overwhelming majority have absolutely no links to gangs.
 
It is no coincidence the record rise in knife crime comes as there is a dramatic fall in the use of police stop and search powers.
 
Random spot checks have plunged 80 per cent in less than a decade, from 1.5million a year to 303,000.
 
Officers tell me that frisking a youth in the street has become too big a risk in these politically correct days.
 
Black people were seven times more likely to be stopped by police than white people, with only one in ten of those searches leading to an arrest.
 
In 2014, Mrs May introduced a flagship reform making police more accountable about who they stop and search.
 
She certainly wouldn’t have expected senior police officers to instruct their officers to cease using these powers.
 
Officers have told me that unless they can see a weapon, they will not even consider stopping a suspect.
 
It is not only knife crime that can be detected using stop and search.
 
Acid attacks are also on the rise and there has been a sharp rise in masked moped gangs carrying knives and corrosives to steal smartphones from pedestrians.
 
Cops are petrified of using stop and search because it could destroy their careers.
 
But it should be the criminals who carry knives who should be in fear of the police coming down on them like a ton of bricks.
 
Many of these kids carry blades for two reasons — to protect themselves but also because they don’t fear getting caught.
 
Unless we allow our police to use their skills and local knowledge to tackle violent crime, more lives will be lost.
 
We Conservatives have a long and proud reputation of being the party of law and order, and unless we get a grip on this we risk losing it.
 
Once the police have been allowed to do their job, these criminals must fear the justice system.
 
It is up to the courts to make sure the punishment fits the crime.
 
The real expectation of being caught and sent to prison will make young people think twice about leaving home carrying a deadly weapon.
 
So I urge the Prime Minister to untie the hands of the police and let them use one of their best preventative weapons.
 
I urge you to reverse this politically correct nonsense issued by the police college and others in high office.
 
Let’s put the fear into the criminals and not into the Thin Blue Line there to protect us all.

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