Amber Rudd backs use of stop and search to tackle acid attacks

Bruno Cirelli
Agosto 9, 2017

Some 15% of stop and searches resulted in an arrest, compared with 10% at the time of the overhaul three years ago.

When my predecessor as home secretary, Theresa May, introduced significant changes in 2014 to the way the police stop and search members of the public, reform was long overdue.

However, while rejecting a return to less targeted stop and search checks - which she said "damaged the relationship between the public and the police" - Rudd gave her backing to officers who use the tactic "appropriately".

In July, the Home Office said "indicative figures" from 39 police forces across England and Wales suggested there were over 400 attacks with acid or other corrosive substances in the six months to April 2017.

"I want to be crystal clear - we have given the police the powers they need and officers who use stop and search appropriately, with reasonable grounds and in a targeted and intelligence-led way, will always have my full support", she writes in The Times.

She added: "This includes using stop and search to confront the use of acid as an appalling weapon of violence".

She said: "I will support my officers if the number of stop and searches rises in the fight against knife crime and street violence. The power is a vital tool to keep the public safe and officers who use it correctly should have the full support of the public and commanding officers".

Knife crime has risen by 20 per cent from 28,800 incidents to 34,703 in the year to March - the highest in seven years, according to official figures.

However, she said that there were "very low" numbers of complaints and they were generally resolved quickly and the vast majority are found "in favour of the officer".

Amid a spike in acid attacks in London, Ms Rudd signalled recently that convictions for such crimes could soon carry life sentences.

The proposal was part of a wider strategy created to crack down on attacks following a spate of high-profile incidents, including several assaults in London.

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