Stop and search is a vital policing tool when used correctly and officers have the Government's full support to use these powers in a way that is fair, lawful and effective.
Under Section 1 of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984, the police in England and Wales have the power to stop and search someone if they have reasonable grounds to suspect they are in possession of an offensive weapon, including a bladed article - such as a knife.
Under Section 60 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994, the police in England and Wales have the power to put in place temporary “no-suspicion” stop and search zones – if they reasonably believe that incidents involving serious violence may take place in that locality during that time period. When this power is authorised, police can search anyone within that area without requiring reasonable grounds to search each person.
In March 2019, the Government announced that it would roll back additional controls on the use of Section 60 powers to make it easier for officers in seven forces, including Merseyside Police, to authorise this power – to help forces further target the recent increases in serious violence.
Whilst it is important for the police to have the right powers, they also need the resources to use them. This is why we are also supporting police with additional funding. On 13 March 2019 the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced a £100 million fund to tackle serious violence. £63.4 million of this funding has already been allocated to 18 police forces, including Merseyside Police which received £4.2 million, to support surge operational activity, such as increased patrols.
This money is already being put to good use. The BBC recently reported that Merseyside had recovered 14 knives in a single week following stop and searches.