Speaking in a debate on the police use of stop and search, Iain Duncan Smith states that whilst previously it was often too random, the police must make better use of the power as it clearly has a part to play in the reduction of violence and use of drugs.
I accept fully that the previous way in which stop and search was used was often too random, but there is no question but that it should play a part in the reduction of violence and the use of drugs in some areas. There has been a large increase in gang warfare and the use of guns and pistols in areas such as mine, where many of the people who are moving weapons and drugs around know that they can, for the most part, do so with impunity because they are unlikely to be stopped and searched. We therefore need to get the police to apply the process much better, so that we make it clear to those people moving guns and weapons around that there is a high likelihood of their being stopped and searched.
I absolutely agree with my right hon. Friend, who speaks with a great deal of experience from his constituency and with passion and expertise in this area. Stop and search is one tool in a box that has to combine robust police law enforcement with superb prevention and early intervention work in the community, as he knows. The evidence is that although the police have improved their practice, as is reflected in improved arrest outcomes, they have lost some confidence in using the stop-and-search tool. The Home Secretary is saying that we as a Government want to send a signal that we expect the police to use these powers lawfully and in an intelligence-led, targeted way. There is no room for stopping anyone on the basis of race or ethnicity. This is about sending a message to the communities about the increased risk of getting caught.