This is what I think.
The problem with the deployment of Stop and Search in the past was that it was indiscriminate, directed at young blacks, used as a general means of hassling black youth, widely seen as racist, carried out with unnecessary disrespect and rudeness and did not have the consent of the community.
Times have changed.
We now have increased knife-crime and gun-crime in a growing gang culture. Something has to happen.
The attitudes of communities have changed. They want action to stop their children falling prey to the drug/gang culture.
So what is the reason for this increase in gun/knife culture? Like all things there are many reasons:
The draconian cuts to the police force have played a part. You cannot cut the Police budget in London by £1 Billion without it impacting. Violent crime, which had been on the decline for decades, has risen right across the country.
On top of this 40% cuts to Youth Services have also had a big impact. The Youth Services provided a second home to many young people. They received care, advice and help from people they regarded as substitute parents. Now those young people are on their own, out on the streets with nothing to do, prey to drugs, crime and the gangs.
The ending of Stop and Search meant that gangs went unchallenged.
Austerity means that there are not the jobs for kids to aspire to. They see graduates working flipping burgers or belting around delivering pizzas and packages on minimum wage. Why work yourself silly when there’s easy big money to be had dealing?
So what is the answer to this upsurge in murders?
As with all things, there is no easy answer. I would suggest that ending austerity would be a major factor. These kids need to have a future that they can buy into. That would entail proper jobs that have a clear career progression with decent money.
The cuts to the Youth Services was a big mistake. These need to be put back in to provide that guidance and take the kids off the street.
We need to reverse the cuts to the Police so that all crime can be followed up. They need the manpower and resources. Stop the small stuff and it doesn’t develop into big stuff.
And yes – reinstate Stop and Search. As long as it is carried out sensitively, with the consent of the community – as long as it is targeted and intelligence led and not used arrogantly as an extension of prejudice.