Attempts by the police to fight violent crime have led to a sharp increase in the use of arrest and search powers in some of the major British forces, Guardian's analysis reveals.
In the findings that critics have described as deeply worrying, data from eight of the country's largest forces show the extent of the use of stop and search, which has more than doubled from 15,557 in March 2017 to 33,022 in March 2019.
In 2018, eight main forces registered 214,240 stops and searches, compared to 178,318 in 2017. The metropolitan police, Greater Manchester and the West Midlands police were behind this outbreak.
Critics say that arrest and search powers disproportionately target blacks and undermine relationships within the community.
State Secretary for the Interior, Sajid Javid, strengthened his powers under Article 60 in March this year, giving police more opportunities to arrest and arrest people. search people without reasonable suspicion in order to combat perpetrators of crimes at the bow.
The favorite of conservative leaders, Boris Johnson, has repeatedly pledged to strengthen the powers of the police in executing stops and searches in order to fight the crime of knife. Last month, he told a pressure group: "It's about giving the police the political cover and support they need to stop and search and attack those who carry knives," he said. he declared.
David Lammy, Tottenham Labor MP, said: "The extremely worrying increase in the number of stops and searches resulting from a deliberate strategic choice by the Minister of the Interior, shows a Police force insane because of huge funding deficits resulting from austerity. As Sajid Javid tacitly admitted during the campaign to the leadership of the conservative party, the police have no more resources since 2010.
Lammy said that rather than tackling the root causes of violent crime, such as deprivation, the government had chosen "to pursue a policy of which it knows that it is fundamentally unfair, unjust and ineffective".
The MP said the growing resort to shutdown and research would further increase tensions in our society and "exacerbate the crisis at a time of unprecedented division".
Omar Khan, director of Runnymede Trust, said the re-emergence of these powers was worrisome. "We are in a world where most black men will have a family member arrested and searched. I think this will create more tension in the communities – this has always been the case. "
Khan said that it was particularly worrying to note that the police did not seem to listen to the people affected by the policy, "considering them as troublemakers and rejecting the fact that [stop and search] was discriminatory ".
Rosalind Comyn, Policy and Campaign Manager for Liberty, said the increase reflected "a troubling reliance on these powers as a quick fix for serious youth violence, while neglecting the risks that people face. They pose.
Adrian Hanstock, head of arrests and searches at the Council of National Police Chiefs, said it was ultimately "a power to collect and safeguard evidence".
He said: "Over the last few months, the forces in question have used their powers under section 60, intended to prevent violent crime and to eliminate drugs and weapons from our streets, in response. at actual levels of violence. This is undoubtedly supported by a public mandate as a whole ".
Hanstock stated that they were evaluating the impact of increased use of the search powers provided for in section 60. The enhanced powers, announced on March 31 by the Home Office, were reducing 39 authorization required for a section 60 to become a senior inspector officer. A lower degree of certainty was required by the police.
The Guardian sent an access request to eight of the largest police forces in England: Greater Manchester, Metropolitan Police, Merseyside, Northumbria, Devon and Cornwall, Thames Valley, West Midlands and West Yorkshire.
The Greater Manchester Police reported an increase in the use of search stops, which increased from 2,852 in 2017 to 4,831 in 2019. The Met increased from 136,647 to 180,991 in the same period .
John Sutherland, a retired borough commander who had been working for the Met for more than 25 years, said the debate around shutdown and research was often reduced to binary, with people thinking that it was either the solution to everything, or the path of all evils.
"It has become increasingly difficult to have a smart and nuanced conversation between these positions, and none is correct … it must be more than a binary debate," he said. -he declares.
He added: "The increase in use per se is not bad, but it must be used appropriately. We have to go beyond the binary … We do not have enough police and have not used stop and search adequately or adequately. And this is largely due to the politicization of power.
"On both sides of the political spectrum, high-ranking politicians are guilty of politicizing power and having very damaging consequences."
A Home Office spokesperson said that arrests and searches were an important tool in disrupting crime. "However, no one should be arrested on the basis of race or ethnicity, and forces must ensure that officers use these intrusive powers in a fair, lawful and effective manner."