This week, the Home Secretary was once again setting out her stall for the inevitable Tory leadership election. I was present in the House for a statement on her decision to ramp up the use of stop and search. As an MP in a borough with one of the highest stop and search rates in London and the lowest police confidence levels in London, I have long called for a review of these powers. I believe that judicious, evidence-based stop and search can play a role in keeping us safe. But suspicionless stop and search powers are clearly counter-productive. There is very little concrete evidence to suggest they do much to keep us safe but plenty to show how disproportionately they are deployed.
As I pointed out in my intervention, this decision will do nothing to repair strained relations between people and the police. If the Government was focused on keeping all our young people safe, they would be looking to reverse cuts to education and youth services, tackle the issue of school exclusions, expand mental healthcare provision and address the deprivation and inequality that sits at the root of so much crime.