Police given extra powers for stop and search, Justice Secretary tells LBC

9 March 2021, 08:52

By Fiona Jones

Justice Secretary Robert Buckland told LBC that new measures will give officers "extra discretion" to carry out controversial stop and searches.

Cutting crime and building safer communities will be the focal point of new legislation announced by the Government today.

The Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill includes a raft of measures, from equipping officers with more protection powers to elongating sentences for serious sexual and violent offenders.

Nick Ferrari asked Mr Buckland why the hotly-debated stop and search measure will be made easier to undertake.

The Justice Secretary responded: "We know sadly that there are a number of people who, although they have been convicted for possession or use of an offensive weapon, go back into that cycle of offending.

"I think it's important to give police officers the power to search people where they've got information that that person has got a previous conviction for that sort of offence."

He told Nick the practice will still be based on the officers' "need to use information and intelligence rather than putting a metaphorical finger in the air", adding that the new measures will "give them that extra discretion...to do that valuable work of public protection."

"Stop and search can save lives and we're talking about protecting young people who sadly get caught up in a cycle of knife crime and often end up dead as a result," Mr Buckland said.

Measures also include widening laws which prevent adults in ‘positions of trust’ from engaging in sexual relationships with young people under the age of 18, bringing sports coaches and religious leaders in line with other occupations such as teachers and doctors.

The move follows an extensive review which raised concerns that predators could exploit the particular influence these roles can often have in a young person’s life – making them vulnerable to abuse.