Boris Johnson to boost police stop and search powers under Beating Crime Plan

27 July 2021, 00:05 | Updated: 27 July 2021, 10:13

The plan includes having more officers to deal with “the tiny minority of truant kids” and a permanent relaxing of conditions on the use of section 60 stop and search powers
The plan includes having more officers to deal with “the tiny minority of truant kids” and a permanent relaxing of conditions on the use of section 60 stop and search powers. Picture: Alamy

By Daisy Stephens

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has pledged to cut crime by tackling drug abuse and using electronic tagging on more burglars after release.

The PM has said his new plan will ensure "less crime, fewer victims and a safer society" as the country recovers from the pandemic.

The government's new Beating Crime Plan will see the creation of league tables for 101 and 999 call answering times so the public can see how quickly their local force is when responding to calls for help.

The strategy, published as the Prime Minister was said to be keen to "crack on" following his time in self-isolation, also includes a permanent relaxing of conditions on the use of Section 60 stop and search powers, the intensification of efforts against county lines drug gangs, and a £17 million package to persuade young people who go to A&E with a stab wound or have contact with police to stay away from violence.

"Prevention is better than cure,” said Iryna Pona, policy manager at the Children's Society.

“We need to be helping young people well before they end up being rushed into A&E fighting for their lives.

"We want to see a long-term plan for investment in early help for children at the first signs that they are vulnerable to being groomed.”

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She said that “short-term limited resources” fall short of providing the solutions that are needed across the country.

"Targeted help for young people and families and universal services like youth clubs have been victims of devastating government funding cuts everywhere over the last decade,” she said.

"Greater investment in early intervention needs to be a key part of a coherent national strategy setting out the Government's approach to tackling child criminal exploitation."

Ms Pona added that stop and search powers should not be used to criminalise children who are carrying weapons because they are victims of a criminal gang.

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The Beating Crime Plan, many details of which were published in the media at the weekend, sets out plans to extend electronic tagging, and in Wales a trial of tags that detect alcohol in offenders' sweat.

A summit will be held later in the year to boost opportunities for prison leavers to get jobs, and the Government will aim to recruit 1,000 ex-offenders into the Civil Service by 2023.

In terms of illegal drugs, a scheme to support addicts piloted in Blackpool will be expanded to eight other areas, and police use of drug testing on arrest will rise with the aim of cracking down on recreational drug use.

A cross-Government summit will also be held with the aim of reducing demand for drugs, and an annual homicide summit attended by officers from the forces with the highest rates of violent deaths will also take place.