Greater Manchester Police to use stop and search to combat knife crime

  • Knife crime crisis has become national news following the deaths of two teenagers last weekend in Manchester and London
  • 17-year-old Youssef Makki died following a stabbing in Hale Barns
  • Controversial stop and search powers being given to police across the country to tackle knife crime

Greater Manchester Police have released a statement on how they will tackle knife crime in the city.

This comes as news breaks that two teenagers who cannot be named for legal reasons were charged in connection to the fatal stabbing of 17-year-old Youssef Makki in Manchester last weekend.

Greater Manchester Police’s Assistant Chief Constable Rob Potts said: “The events of this weekend have sadly raised so many questions about the state of the knife crime problem in Greater Manchester and across the country.

The only way to properly tackle this problem is by working together with communities and our partners

Mr Potts also outlined the GMPs strategy for dealing with the apparent rise in knife crime.

“Greater Manchester Police will be continuing to run operations to tackle knife crime over the coming weeks and months, incorporating a range of policing tactics including hotspot targeting and stop and search methods as well as working with partners to better understand why people are carrying knives while educating them of the consequences of doing so.”

Stop and search is controversial because it gives police power to search individuals without needing a warrant or a reasonable suspicion.

Analysis commissioned by the Guardian found black people in London were disproportionately targeted by the stop and search method, despite most of the searches discovering no wrongdoing. The report also went on to claim searches of black people were less likely to detect crime than searches of white people.

London’s metropolitan police said youths from afro-caribbean backgrounds were more likely to carry or be victims of knives and justified the higher search rate, but the Guardian’s analysis seems to contradict their justification.

This morning, defence secretary Gavin Williamson said the military ‘stand ready’ to help police with knife crime. Although no request has yet been made, Mr Williamson said the home secretary, Sajid Javid, is looking into military intervention as an option.

This comes as cuts to police services are leaving some areas severely understaffed and unable to respond to all incidents.

The GMP’s approach does want to make change in the community, however, as well as focusing on prevention within the home rather than just on the streets.

Rob Potts said: “I also hope parents will also take note and open up that conversation with their children about carrying knives – better an awkward conversation now than a devastating one later.”

But with a decline in public services and community spaces, there may not be enough infrastructure to provide young people with support and a lot of young people do not have a support network at home either.