The Government fully support the police in using their stop-and-search powers when they have lawful grounds to do so. This is a vital policing tool when used correctly. We will always ensure that police have the necessary powers to keep people safe, and that is why we work very closely with the National Police Chiefs’ Council to keep under review the stop-and-search powers that the police need to help keep the public safe. This House should be clear that we have no plans to change the requirement that reasonable grounds for suspicion are needed before a routine stop and search is carried out.
We are, however, working with the police, including the national police lead for stop and search, to see how we can reduce bureaucracy and increase efficiency in the use of stop and search. The Home Secretary has been clear that that is something we are looking at, and that he will say more on this in due course.
The House will be aware that the Government introduced a comprehensive reform package for stop and search in 2014 in response to evidence that the power was not used fairly, effectively or, in some cases, lawfully. Since introducing those reforms, the arrest rate following a stop and search has risen to 17%—the highest since records began. As the Home Secretary has said, he wants police officers to feel confident, trusted and supported when they are using stop-and-search powers lawfully. If there are things getting in the way of them using those powers, these need to be looked at.
The Government are determined to do all they can to break the deadly and dreadful cycle of violence that devastates the lives of individuals, families and communities. That is why we will always look to ensure that the police have the powers they need and our support to use them lawfully.