I support the use of stop and search, Home Secretary tells police

The Home Secretary has backed a boost in the use of stop and search to help tackle the deadly spate of violence on Britain's streets.

Sajid Javid also vowed to prioritise police spending as he offered an olive branch to rank-and-file officers following years of sniping over budget cuts and staffing reductions.

Giving his first major speech since his appointment, Mr Javid said he is "absolutely determined" to put an end to violence that is "terminating young lives far too soon".

Referring to stop and search, he told the Police Federation of England and Wales' annual conference in Birmingham: "Some of you don't feel comfortable using it - and that's not how it should be.

To view this content, you'll need to update your privacy settings.
Please click here to do so.

"I have confidence in your professional judgment. So let me be clear - I support the use of stop and search.

"You have to do your job and that means protecting everyone."

He said evidence shows that black people are more likely to be a homicide victim than any other ethnic group.

"If stop and search can mean saving lives from the communities most affected, then of course that has to be right," Mr Javid said.

To view this content, you'll need to update your privacy settings.
Please click here to do so.

The recent spate of violence has prompted scrutiny of a sharp reduction in stop and search activity , with use of the powers at the lowest level since current data records started 17 years ago.

In the year ending March 2017, there were 303,845 stops and searches conducted in England and Wales - a fall of 21% compared with the previous year.

The tactics have repeatedly attracted controversy amid criticism that they are unfairly focused on black and minority ethnic individuals.

Reforms were introduced in 2014 by then home secretary Theresa May to ensure stop and search was used in a more targeted way.

But calls for the powers to be used more frequently have intensified amid spiralling levels of knife and gun crime and a wave of fatal stabbings and shootings in London.

To view this content, you'll need to update your privacy settings.
Please click here to do so.

Striking a more conciliatory tone compared with the stance of his two Tory predecessors when addressing the federation, Mr Javid acknowledged the increase in demand facing forces.

"I am listening and I get it," he said.

Pledging to ensure that forces have the resources they need, he said the Government has had to make "difficult decisions" since 2010.

He said that, including funds raised through council tax, more than £1 billion extra cash is being invested in policing now than three years ago.

To view this content, you'll need to update your privacy settings.
Please click here to do so.

But he accepted there is a need to "think more about the long-term funding of the police", adding: "My pledge to you is this: I will prioritise police funding in the Spending Review next year."

Although "traditional" offending is more than a third lower than it was in 2010, Mr Javid said more crimes, such as sexual offences, are being reported than ever before.

The threat from terrorism has escalated and evolved, while crime is "increasingly taking place online", the Home Secretary said.

"The internet has emboldened criminals to break the law in the most horrifying of ways, with platforms that enable dangerous crimes and appalling abuse," Mr Javid warned.