Stop and Search (Supplementary) [8]

Session date: 
February 20, 2008
Question By: 
Jennette Arnold OBE
Labour Group
Asked Of: 
The Mayor


I am getting quite uncomfortable here with this discussion. Can I just put on record that stop and search is not a tool to be used against black people; that it is absolutely part of the tools and the way of working of police officers. It is not just based on their intuition, it has to be based on evidence and it is that issue about how the police, as public servants, give an account to a member of the public. Can I as well put on record that it is as relevant for our young people who are more likely to be stopped by the police and who have never been given account before the MPA introduced that wonderful piece of kit that young people now carry in their pockets.

We are at a stage now where it is perfectly reasonable to move from what was introduced ' how many years ago ' to now looking at new technology. Let us be clear what this issue is about. There is no black person in this country who would not want the police to go about and do their jobs properly. Let us have that on the record. What black people are not prepared to sit back and have happen to them is what happened in the 1960s when the `Sus law' (searching `on suspicion) was used against them inappropriately. If the evidence shows, once we have introduced new means, then that will become a major issue again. Can we be clear about that, Mayor; that it is not about black people but it is about all citizens and the issue about black people is because of the profile of black and minority ethnic groups in this city that is about 49%? It is shown because of evidence that when the police have no framework to work within they have abused their power in the past. We do not want to get back to that. We want measures that protect everybody on the streets of London.

Supplementary To: 


Answer for Stop and Search (Supplementary) [8]

Answer for Stop and Search (Supplementary) [8]

Answered By: 
The Mayor

I do not think anybody wants to go back to the past. I remember Sir Kenneth Newman [former Commissioner of Police] bragging that he had kept the lid on London by aggressive policing and then we saw the horror of Broadwater Farm and finally people erupted because of that aggressive policing.

I noticed in the meetings I attended between black and Asian communities around the bombings in 1999 by David Copeland a complete sea change between the local communities and the police that were dealing with them compared with what we had seen in the early 1980s. Gradually the police are going to continue to change as the composition of the police force changes.

I would be quite happy to see a big increase in stop and search of young people that are the ones that are the most vulnerable at the moment to getting into a knife fight, often with the knife they are carrying, and being killed by it. I do not care what their colour is. I remember some bizarre phone-in I did on the [Nick] Ferrari programme where somebody phoned in and said had I noticed the colour of the kids being killed. I actually hadn't and nor do I care about the colour of a kid who has been killed. You want to make certain it stops or you make it as difficult as possible.

I would be quite happy to have the police standing outside school gates and stopping and searching everybody who comes out if they think this is a school where there is a high chance of the kids carrying a knife.