Enhanced stop and search powers and 24-hour tags among new measures in crime plan

Tuesday, 27th July 2021, 9:41 am
Police officers patrol the area around a house in Liverpool, north west England (PAUL ELLIS/AFP via Getty Images)

Stop and search powers are set to be enhanced and burglars will be electronically tagged 24 hours a day under Boris Johnson’s new strategy to tackle crime.

The Prime Minister will use his first day after leaving self-isolation following a positive coronavirus contact to unveil a series of measures in his new Beating Crime Plan.

Measures in government’s new crime plan

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It will include a permanent relaxing of conditions on the use of Section 60 stop and search powers, under which officers can search someone without reasonable grounds in an area where serious violence is expected.

Mr Johnson’s reforms for England and Wales will also see the extension of a pilot announced earlier this year which involves burglars and thieves being made to wear GPS tags on release from prison.

The strategy will also trial the use of alcohol tags – which detect alcohol in the sweat of the wearer – on prison leavers in Wales in a bid to reduce alcohol-related crime.

Plans will also be unveiled for league tables for forces’ 101 and 999 call-answering times, a national online platform to allow the public to contact police, and efforts against county lines drug gangs to be intensified.

They will also include a £17 million package to persuade young people who go to an emergency department with a stab wound or have contact with police to stay away from violence.

Reaction to measures

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said the Prime Minister’s pledge to provide victims of crime with a named officer to call about their case was a “ridiculous gimmick”.

Home Secretary Priti Patel writing in the Daily Mail said unpaid work cleaning streets and open spaces will be reintroduced as “the public want to see justice done and criminals pay the price for their crimes.”

Stop and search changes

The plans will permanently reverse limits imposed on police stop and search by Mr Johnson’s predecessor Theresa May during her time as home secretary.

Section 60 powers give officers the right to search people in a defined area during a specific time period when they expect serious violence, and officers can look for weapons before they can be used, or those used in a recent attack.

The permanent change follows a nationwide pilot which reduced the level of authorisation needed to impose a Section 60 order, and lowered the degree of certainty required.

Anger over police pay freeze

But on the day that further details of the Prime Minister’s crime-blitz strategy are revealed, chairman of the Police Federation John Apter will take a letter to Number 10 setting out officers’ anger over a pay freeze and objections to how the plan was announced.

The Police Federation of England and Wales, representing more than 130,000 officers from the rank of constable to chief inspector, passed a motion of no confidence in Ms Patel last week in a row over pay.

Officers who earn more than £24,000 are subject to a pay freeze this year, compared with NHS staff who will receive 3%, and firefighters and local government workers who will get 1.5%.

A version of this article originally appeared on NationalWorld.com