Stop and Search

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 3:38 pm on 12th November 2018.

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Photo of Nick Hurd Nick Hurd The Minister of State, Home Department 3:38 pm, 12th November 2018

I thank the hon. Gentleman for his questions. Unfortunately, this all starts from a false premise, which is newspaper speculation that is entirely wrong. I go back to my statement: 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 not going back to random stop and search, to use his words.

The hon. Gentleman set out eloquently the case for reform that this Government made on stop and search, which means that stop and search is now conducted in a totally transformed environment in terms of the transparency and accountability around it. We are now at record levels for the ratio between stop and arrest, so we are not going back to the bad old days when over 1.4 million people were stopped with only 8% or 9% of them arrested. That is not what this is about. This is about recognising that we now have a million fewer stops and searches than we did in 2009-10, and that we are—I think on a cross-party basis—absolutely determined to bear down on this horrendous spike in violent crime. We need to be sure that the police have the confidence to use the tools at their disposal, and stop and search is one of those tools. There is evidence that the police have lost some confidence in using it, and what the Home Secretary is setting out in his interviews and articles is his determination to restore that confidence and give the police confidence in the powers that they have. We can look at ways of reducing the bureaucracy and anything else that is getting in the way of that, but this is about trying to save lives.