Oral Update (Supplementary) [5]

Session date: 
December 3, 2008
Question By: 
Jenny Jones
Organisation: 
City Hall Greens
Asked Of: 
Boris Johnson (Chair, MPA) & Sir Paul Stephenson (Acting Commissioner, MPS)

Question

Mr Mayor, I would like to agree with you that this does look a disproportionate use of police powers, albeit within the law. Can I just remind you that they also use other powers disproportionately? If you are gong to perhaps start to look at what powers they have used and whether it is disproportionate, perhaps you will also like to look at the use of Section 60 [of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994], which is entirely beyond what was expected when that law was enacted. I would say it is an abuse of the law that the police are affecting. It is not only one MP, one white, middle-aged MP. It happens to young black and ethnic minorities of all kinds here in London. They are stopped and searched and they are often detained for long periods. So if we are going to look at police powers that would be a good area as well.

Supplementary To: 

Answer

Answer for Oral Update (Supplementary) [5]

Answer for Oral Update (Supplementary) [5]

Answered By: 
Boris Johnson (Chair, MPA) & Sir Paul Stephenson (Acting Commissioner, MPS)

Boris Johnson (Chair, Metropolitan Police Authority): Well, Jenny, thank you. I happen to think that Stop and Search is being conducted with as much tact and sensitivity as is possible and I think more or less in accordance with the overwhelming wishes of local communities. Perhaps I will ask Paul or Tim [Godwin] to say something about Section 60 and its application.

Sir Paul Stephenson (Acting Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis): I hear what you say about your view on disproportionality, both in this investigation and in Section 60. By not getting into the debate in this investigation I am in no way agreeing with you, I just hear your view on it..

Let me turn to Section 60. I think Section 60 is about trying to save the life of young kids. I think we are using it properly. We are using it robustly, but we are constantly talking to people in communities and certain neighbourhood panels and volunteers there and we are driving knife crime down. We are sensitive to the overuse of it. We are sensitive to how this can be misinterpreted by certain communities. We are doing huge amounts of work there to try and make sure those communities understand what we are doing and why we are doing it. We are taking a lot of people form the community out on these search operations to ensure that we maintain public support. My prime duty is to actually prevent crime and to save life. That is what we are doing and knife crime is currently 12% down. I think one of the reasons for that is this robust policing operation and maybe we should have done it earlier.