Cressida Dick: public supports police on stop and search

The public is giving “lots of support” to police in London over the decision to step up the use of stop and search in their battle to combat knife crime, the Met Commissioner said today.

Cressida Dick said that street searches were a “very powerful tool” for officers as she spoke of her deep concern about a surge in knife crime which has led to 37 fatal stabbings in the capital so far this year.

She emphasised that Met officers carrying out searches must be “courteous” and “use intelligence” to target prolific offenders.

But she said that she wanted police to be “confident” about using the tactic as she vowed to continue her efforts to prevent further loss of life.

“We are very concerned about knife crime,” Ms Dick said in an interview on the BBC’s Crimewatch programme.  

“Stop search properly used is a very powerful tool for my officers. I want them to be confident to use it. Of course they must be courteous, they must use it lawfully, we use intelligence to stop those people who we know are habitually carrying knives.

“I think the public would expect us to do that and I have had lots of support for the comments that I’ve made.”

The Commissioner was speaking  following the launch of a special investigation by the Evening Standard into knife crime after a wave of teenage stabbing fatalities.

Ms Dick added that police also recognised that improved prevention was better than enforcement and that her “big message” was to tell young people and children that it was not sensible to carry knives.

In other comments, Ms Dick saluted the bravery of her officers and members of the public during the London Bridge terror attack.

“I pay tribute to them, members of the public as well,” she said.

“The courage that was shown, the professionalism, the compassion, the quick-thinking in an incredibly chaotic and confusing situation. I’ve spoken to many, many people — my first responders, the firearms officers, members of the public. 

“It’s very hard for those of us who weren’t there to imagine what it would have been like.”

She added that the Met would now seek to “wrap around” those officers affected by their experiences during the attack and that the force’s “very good” welfare services would be deployed to help them recover from any psychological trauma.

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