Emergency stop and search restrictions lifted
The Home Office has revealed that a stop and search pilot has been rolled out to all 43 forces in England and Wales.
Home Secretary Priti Patel, who is aiming to eradicate increasing knife crime rates, is empowering more than 8,000 police officers to authorise enhanced stop and search powers. The Home Office is making it simpler for all forces in England and Wales to use Section 60 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act, which empowers officers to stop and search anyone in a designated area without needing reasonable grounds for suspicion if serious violence is anticipated.
The rollout will see the Home Secretary lift all conditions in the voluntary Best Use of Stop and Search Scheme over the use of Section 60 by: reducing the level of authorisation needed for officers to deploy and extend Section 60 from senior officers to inspectors and superintendents; lowering the degree of certainty required by the authorising officer so they must reasonably believe an incident involving serious violence ‘may’, rather than ‘will’, occur; and extending the initial period a Section 60 can be in force from 15 hours to 24, and extending the overall period an extension can be in place from 39 to 48 hours.
Patel said: “We are experiencing a knife crime epidemic and I am determined to put a stop to it. Police chiefs are clear - stop and search is a vital tool in combatting the scourge of serious violence and keeping people safe. Today I am giving them my full support and more police authority to approve stop and search to halt this terrible crime in its tracks.”
Last year almost 7,000 arrests for offensive weapons and 900 arrests for firearms were made following a stop and search.