"Stop and search is not the answer to everything," says Shadow Policing Minister

4 August 2020, 13:42

By Seán Hickey

As reports show that knife crime has increased nationwide in the last decade, the Shadow Policing Minister insisted that the problem is cuts in community services and policing.

Sarah Jones, Shadow Minister for Policing and Fire and Labour MP for Croydon Central was speaking to Tom Swarbrick after ONS figures have shown that knife crime has significantly increased across England and Wales in the past ten years.

Ms Jones told Tom that this increase "is pretty much on the government's watch.

"We know and your listeners will know the two sides to it, one is policing, one is prevention, both have been decimated in terms of funding and support and we need to tackle them both."

Tom wondered what the Shadow Policing Minister would want police to do to get these numbers down. She maintained that the issue lies in a lack of community services which is prevention of knife crime at the earliest stage.

Reminding Tom that there have been astronomical cuts to policing and community services in the past decade at the hands of the government. "We need to hold their feet to the fire on this," she said.

Sarah Jones MP said that greater investment is needed in community services to prevent knife crime before it happens
Sarah Jones MP said that greater investment is needed in community services to prevent knife crime before it happens. Picture: PA

"Stop and search is only as good as the intelligence you've got coming in to the police force about what's going on where," she said, adding that police want to "be as visible as possible and building those relationships," rather than policing at the end of the line.

Tom pressed the Shadow Policing Minister: "Would Labour want to see more regular targeted stop and search in order to bring these absolutely terrible figures down?"

"Stop and search is a tool, it's not an answer to everything," she said.

Ms Jones went on to say that investment needs to be made in community services such as mental health and employment services, which will quell the problem before it arises.

"All of that needs to be provided so that the police aren't picking up the pieces which is actually taking them away from solving the crime."

Ms Jones went on to tell Tom that there is a risk of the problem worsening if it isn't addressed soon. "You've all these young people that have been in lockdown...not getting the support they need," because of the coronavirus lockdown, which is also contributing to a looming unemployment crisis.

"This problem will increase...unless the government is completely clear on what it is doing to solve this problem that has happened on their watch."