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13 March 2019
Increased use of stop and search powers and more police officers would help tackle the knife crime epidemic, says West Midlands Police Federation chair Rich Cooke.
In an article in The Telegraph newspaper, Rich said that Section 60 powers have led to scores of weapons being taken off the streets of Birmingham since they were introduced.
“The impact has been tangible,” he wrote, “The feeling among officers is that the operation is paying dividends across the city.
“Arrests are up, and dangerous weapons have been removed from the streets. For too long, police have been absent from the streets in any numbers, and this has encouraged a sense of licence among those carrying knives, whatever their initial motivation to do so.”
Rich pointed to the cuts in police resources as a reason behind the surge in violence and questioned the Government’s stance.
“How can they ignore what is obvious to most of us – that the violence is out of control partly because there are simply not enough bobbies on the beat?” he wrote.
“Instead of all the responsibility dodging, the Government should take inspiration from Birmingham’s successes in recent days and get behind a national strategy that gets more bobbies on the beat and empowers them to make robust use of stop and search powers.
“If it fails to do so, our young people will continue to die.”
The article was published earlier this month.
National chair John Apter meanwhile has met the Home Secretary, Sajid Javid, to discuss the knife crime epidemic on behalf of his members.
John said: “It is vital that the voice of the police officers I represent is heard when considering how to tackle this national crisis. And I am very pleased that the Home Secretary has agreed to my request to meet.
“Front-line officers must be able to contribute to the debate to help end this surge in violence. They are the ones dealing with it day in, day out and their experience and insight is invaluable.
“We know this cannot be solved overnight, or by the police alone, but we certainly need to be at the heart of any solution.”