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Manchester's top cop says 'you don't have to go to Cambridge' to work out stop and search gets weapons off streets

19 April 2023, 11:12

'Disproportionality' does exist in stop and search says GMP Chief

By Anna Fox

Stephen Watson explains to Nick Ferrari how ‘disproportionality itself’ takes ‘some unpicking’ and does not ‘imply discriminatory policing’.

Caller Anthony quizzed the top cop at Greater Manchester Police, on the disparity in stop and searches between black and white individuals.

The GMP Chief reiterated his viewpoint on conducting stop and searches “lawfully, objectively and with respect”, adding it’s the police's role to “intervene” when young people are “stabbing each other to death”.

READ MORE: 'You’ll be leaving your fingerprints on the road': Top cop warns protesters who glue themselves to motorways

Continuing Mr Watson highlighted how the force had increased stop and searches by “264%” adding complaints regarding the procedure had “fallen”.

Acknowledging Anthony’s question, the GMP Chief stated: “There is disproportionality in the system.

“But I think disproportionality itself does take some unpicking, disproportionality per se does not imply discriminatory policing, sometimes it reflects a targeted effort whereby you might be policing a community where it is predominantly lived in by ethnic minority people”.

READ MORE: No UK police force is institutionally racist says Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police

Noting the public outcry regarding the “intrusive” procedure, Mr Watson said: “Well all I know is we’ve increased stop and search by 264%, firearms discharge over the last 6 months have reduced by 51%.

“Can I make a direct correlation between those two things?

“No, I can’t, but as a cop for the last 30 years you don't have to go to Cambridge to work out that there might be something in that.”

Their conversation calls as four police force areas have begun trialling serious violence reduction orders (SVRO).

SVROs are civil orders that can be placed on over 18s who have been convicted of an offence involving a bladed or offensive weapon, enabling officers to stop and search the individual.

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