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News - 19 November 2008
Blunt 2's chief claims Stop-and-Search is reducing knife crime
The Met has claimed some success in the fight against knife crime. There has been a 12 per cent fall in incidents since May, largely due to the widespread use of 'Section 60' Stop-and-Search powers.
Commander Mark Simmons is chief of the Met's Operation Blunt which was launched in May to tackle knife crime. He told a seminar organised by the Commons Home Affairs Select Committee that, largely as a result of the extension of Stop-and-Search powers under Section 60 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994, "we think we are on the right track."
Simmons said 95% of those found with a knife were now being dealt with by the courts rather than being cautioned. He said 420 individuals in 22 south London gangs had been identified as regularly carrying a knife, not for their own safety but to carry out robberies or other serious crimes. One hundred and fifty of them were now in custody. Simmons said that the number of young victims of knife crime had fallen by 18% since May.
At the same seminar criminologist Dr Marian Fitzgerald of the University of Kent questioned the impact of the use of Stop-and-Search on community relations and queried the legality of the Met's use of Section 60 to justify Stop-and-Search powers in the capital where it is has been deployed in 11 boroughs 'on an almost permanent basis'.
Read the full article from The Guardian here
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