New Forest East

HOME AFFAIRS – STOP & SEARCH – 4 February 2002

Dr Julian Lewis: The death of a fine young man, Tim Robinson, in a stabbing incident while he was parking his car in London has caused great grief in the village of Beaulieu in my constituency, where he was brought up and where his parents still live. It seems likely that CCTV will play a vital role in the apprehension of his killers, but does the Minister agree that, were it not for the stop and search restrictions that have resulted from the constant accusations of racism against the police, it would be possible to deter a considerable number of would-be criminals from casually carrying knives when they go about their evil work?

[The Minister for Police, Courts and Drugs (Mr John Denham): All hon. Members will agree that the crime to which the hon. Gentleman referred was appalling and that it is essential that we take the firmest possible action to stamp out such crime. The House will be aware of the moves announced by the Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis, which, from today, will lead to about 475 extra officers being deployed in London to tackle street robbery. It is essential that that be done.

However, I do not agree that restrictions have been placed on stop and search. Powers to stop and to search are an essential part of effective policing and we are determined to ensure that that can continue, but in ways that maintain the confidence of all the communities that are being policed.]