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Increase stop and search, says Iain Duncan Smith

STOP AND SEARCH: Iain Duncan Smith is among the politicians calling for the policing method to be stepped up

FORMER CONSERVATIVE leader Iain Duncan Smith has called for an increase in stop and search following the increase of violent crime and gang violence.

Smith made the comments as his think-tank, the Centre for Social Justice, released a report on how to end gang violence.

In the foreword of the report published this week, Smith said: “If the Government earnestly believes that their first duty is to protect the public, then they need to act immediately and effectively.”

Of the report’s 44 recommendations, one is that the government and home office should “include provisions for a serious violence reduction order within the Offensive Weapons Bill” currently progressing through parliament. This would enable police officers to conduct stop and search without suspecting the subject of a specific crime and give them the power to conduct searches on any ex-offenders still on sentence.

The report, It Can Be Stopped: A Proven Blueprint to Stop Gang Violence in London and Beyond, has been published days after the number of murders in London this year reached 100.

It highlights the more than 50 stabbings and 10 fatal shootings that have taken place in the capital so far this year and states that London is currently caught in a “toxic cycle of serious violence”.

Smith told the Daily Mail: “Stop and search does two things. It tells the gangs they cannot move their guns and drugs around, making their lives much more difficult.

“People claim, ‘it’s not fair’, but who are the communities affected by this the most? It’s the poorest communities in our country. It means shops close, people don’t go on the street, kids who want nothing to do with the gang feel threatened.”

The report found that there has been a significant drop in the number of stop and searches being conducted in the last decade. Around 700,000 took place in the year 2008/2009 compared to just over 100,000 in the last year.

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