Worcester MP backs stop and search changes

Worcester News: Home Secretary Theresa May: plans to change stop and search police guidelines Home Secretary Theresa May: plans to change stop and search police guidelines

STOP and search police powers are going to be reviewed by the Government - with Worcester's MP insisting the changes will help fight crime.

Home Secretary Theresa May has announced that she wants to change the controversial tactics where people on the streets are stopped and searched if there are suspicions about them.

Speaking in the commons, she said where it was misused it could be "counter productive" and "an enormous waste of police time".

A revised Code of Conduct is to be issued to police forces clarifying what the Government views as "reasonable grounds" for stopping people.

Worcester Robin Walker also got involved in the debate and backed the pledge to make changes.

He told your Worcester News he was concerned about stop and search tactics potentially putting barriers in front of the Muslim community and discouraging them from reporting crime.

Back in 2012 we reported how homes belonging to the Asian community were being targeted for cash, gold and jewellery in areas like Victoria Avenue, off London Road.

Mr Walker said: "I know stop and search is a particular concern of the Muslim community in Worcester.

"Those communities are often victims of crime and the point I'm making is that it's right police do use stop and search but also right that they engage with these communities to hear their concerns on crime too.

"I know police statistics only show a very small number of burglaries in areas like Cathedral (the city council ward) but I've been concerned about the 'underreporting' of crimes.

"We don't want a stop and search culture to build up barriers so people who could report crimes are less likely to go to them in the first place.

"It's important changes the Government is making and it has some relevance to Worcester, although I know West Mercia Police has a very good track record on this."

Mrs May said the revised code is expected to include a section where officers could face disciplinary action if they are not "using their powers properly".

Stop and search figures at West Mercia Police are among the lowest in the country, but in the first half of last year it was used 1,672 times in south Worcestershire.

More than one third of people stopped were young adults aged between 18 and 22.

The force ran a major consultation over it last year and says it takes any feedback seriously.

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6:25pm Fri 2 May 14

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