I understand where the right hon. Gentleman’s passion comes from. I have a great deal of respect for his passion, and I also have a great deal of respect for the fact that he has stood up and offered to serve on the serious violence taskforce because of his passion and his insight into the problem and the drivers that underlie it, not least the drugs market. He and I have sat in on presentations on the subject.
To give some reassurance, I meant what I said at the Dispatch Box. There is no appetite or desire to go back to the bad old days of stop and search, but we have gone from a situation where over 1.4 million people were stopped in 2009-10 to one where 1 million fewer people were stopped last year. In the context of the problem we face—this scourge, this terrible spike in serious violence—we have to make sure that all the tools in the box are being used.
The reality is that stop and search is an effective tool. I will give one brief example. In one week in January, during Operation Engulf, 27 people were arrested outside Stratford station, and 10 highly offensive, dangerous, scary weapons were seized. Stop and search has its place, but it must be used lawfully and it must be targeted. Nothing about the Government’s approach to the reform has changed.