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Theresa May extends stop and search consultation

STOP AND SEARCHED: A young male in south London is checked by officers (PA)

PUBLIC CONSULTATION on the police’s power to stop and search people suspected of criminal activity has been extended by the Home Office.

Home Secretary Theresa May has decided the window of dialogue between concerned members of the public, police and other community figures should have a longer window.

The original deadline for the public to send feedback was set to August 13, but May has announced it will now close on September 24.

According to the Conservative minister, more than a thousand people have contributed to the consultation process – she said that she acknowledged campaigners saying “communities need more time to engage”.

May told The Voice: “We want to ensure that everyone who has an opinion on Stop and Search gets the chance to share their views with us.”

Speaking about how officers interpret and use the power, which according to a HM Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) report found black males are seven times more likely to be stopped than their white counterparts, she said: “The police should never stop and search anyone simply on the basis of their colour.

“An essential part of my review of Stop and Search is to find new ways of making sure that no-one is ever targeted solely because of they are a member of a particular ethnic group.”

The Home Secretary added: “This is not only a matter of basic fairness and justice. It is also a question of the efficient use of resources. When the police stop and search the wrong person, they waste their own time as well as that of an innocent citizen.

“I have no doubt that the police's power to stop and search people on the street is an essential tool in the fight against crime. It is especially useful in diminishing knife and drug offences, and it helps the police control mugging by street gangs.”

To have your say on the consultation, visit www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/86031CQFRP to answer a quick poll.

For the full consultation, visit www.homeofficesurveys.homeoffice.gov.uk/s/84302GDEVE

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