HOME Secretary Sajid Javid has met police chiefs from seven forces most affected by the violent crime wave produced by the government’s decade of austerity policies.
The meeting came after Met Police chief Cressida Dick, who gave the go ahead to shoot Jean Charles de Menezes in 2005, publicly criticised the savage cuts in police numbers that PM May imposed when she was Home Secretary.
Javid, the current home secretary, said he wanted a ‘legal duty’ on government departments to help prevent serious violence.
Police chiefs are demanding an unlimited right to stop and search large numbers of youth without any cause for doing so.
This would open up the police to claims of planting knives to obtain convictions and then sentences that would deter others from carrying knives
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Theresa May announced she would host a summit ‘in the coming days’ to tackle knife crime.
Both police funding and stop-and-search powers were discussed in Wednesday’s meeting, Javid said.
He added: ‘I want serious violence to be treated by all parts of government, all parts of the public sector, like a disease and I want us to tackle it the same way – everyone would come together.’
Chairwoman of the National Police Chiefs’ Council Sara Thornton said the discussions had been ‘really constructive’ and highlighted the need for extra police officers. We’ve agreed that by the end of the week we’ll set out the scale of the investment required,’ she said.
Durham’s Chief Constable, Mike Barton, said he was ‘heartened’ by the meeting while the chief constable of Merseyside Police said the talks were ‘very good’.
Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick said there was ‘obviously’ a link between violent crime and falling police numbers.
When asked for his view on the issue, Javid said it was important to ‘always make sure the police have the resources they need’, adding: ‘We have to listen to them when they talk about resources.’
Police officer numbers in England and Wales have dropped by just under 20,000 since 2010, while levels of violent crime have risen in recent years.