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Dartford MP Gareth Johnson questions Theresa May on recent increase in stabbings and knife crime

By Sean McPolin

An MP has asked Theresa May about the increase in the number stabbings and the drop in police stop and searches.

During the Prime Minister's Questions (PMQs), Dartford's Gareth Johnson (Con) questioned the PM whether or not she thinks the searches help battle against knife crime.

Mr Johnson said: “Over the last four years, the number of people who have been stopped and searched by the police has fallen by two thirds whilst at the same time the number of stabbings has increased by a third.

Gareth Johnson - UK Parliament official portraits 2017
Gareth Johnson - UK Parliament official portraits 2017

“Does the Prime Minister therefore agree with me, that carried out in the right way, stop and search is an effective part of the battle against knife crime?”

Prime Minister Theresa May replied: "I absolutely agree that carried out in the right way stop and search is an effective tool for our police forces.

“We recognise the concern there is about violent crime and, obviously he specifically raised the knife crime issue, that is why the Home Secretary has published the serious violence strategy, we’ve established the serious violence task force.

Knife crime in Gravesend and Dartford increase by nearly 50% last year
Knife crime in Gravesend and Dartford increase by nearly 50% last year

“But on the point about stop and search, just to reiterate what we want for the police to do is to use stop and search properly and lawfully.

“It is a vital and effective policing tool, what we expect is when they use stop and search they do it lawfully.”

MP Johnson said he wants those who carry knives to be fearful of the police, not the local community.

He added: "Nobody wants to see any section of the community unfairly targeted but the police must be allowed to feel confident to carry out a stop and search on anybody when they have grounds to do so.

"We must ensure that it is those who carry knives who should be fearful not the local community."

Knife and gun crime in Gravesend and Dartford has risen by nearly 50% last year.

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