Use of controversial ‘stop and search’ powers by GMP doubles in the space of a year across force area

GMP has defended its increased use of controversial "stop and search" powers.
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Police chiefs said they had made "tremendous efforts" to ensure the force’s increased stop and search activity was carried out in a fair and effective way that supports public confidence.

The remarks came on the same day that Home Secretary Suella Braverman made a statement in the Commons on stop and search.

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She claimed it would be a “tragic mistake” to conclude that stop and search was “too controversial” to use “extensively”.

Police officers and special constables talking to a suspect following a stop and search (file picture)Police officers and special constables talking to a suspect following a stop and search (file picture)
Police officers and special constables talking to a suspect following a stop and search (file picture)
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In the last 12 months to April, GMP conducted 425 successful searches - nearly double the number carried out in the previous period when 217 successful searches were recorded.

Superintendent Phil Spurgeon said: “We had a very low baseline of stop and search activity and through significantly increasing stop and searches, GMP is now more in line with other forces in its ‘Most Similar Group’ which includes Merseyside, West Midlands and West Yorkshire.

“Search outcomes, relating to seizures and arrests, have remained relatively static throughout the increase, and in line with national averages, which is a clear and positive indication that these powers are being evoked with good reason.

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“GMP understand being searched can feel invasive, we want to reassure the public that officers only exercise this power when it’s necessary to further investigations into criminal activity and protect the public.”

In her statement on stop and search today (Monday), the Home Secretary said: “It would be a tragic mistake to conclude that stop and search is too controversial to use extensively or that it cannot be used effectively with sensible safeguards. Suggestions that it is a means of victimising young black men have it precisely the wrong way around.

“The facts are that young black men are disproportionately more likely to be victims of violent crimes. They are the ones most in need of protection. This is about saving the lives of young black men.”

She went on: “It’s always bad policy to place unsubstantiated theories ahead of demonstrable fact. In this case, it would be lethal.”

On “suspicionless stop and search”, she said it “must be used responsibly”, adding: “But we cannot do without it.”