The Home Secretary, Theresa May has sent out a warning to the police stating that their abuse and improper use of their powers to stop and search people can undermine public assistance. She stated in an open speech aimed directly at the police forces that she need not remind them of the immense importance of public backing and public co-operation. She stated that this support is unable to be maintained if the public think that senior officials and police officers are lacking in integrity or behaving in a way which serves them best. She continued the sharp warning by saying that it is unacceptable for police officers to be rude and disrespectful to the public.
The speech which she delivered before the Police Superintendents’ Association of England and Wales conference, marks the Home Secretary strongest stance on her movement towards reducing the waste of time which is involved in conducting the roughly 1.2million searches per year by police officers on the streets across the country. May stated that the astonishing search rate only produces a success rate of 3% which is the amount of people arrested as a result of these searches. This figure in her opinion is far too low to get comfortable with.
However, the speech also gave credit where it was due to police officers since they have handled the their ongoing duties and have delivered despite there being a 20% cut in funding by Whitehall. The Home Secretary extended her praise to the officers by labelling them “the model public service” when previous speeches have seen her target the sector as “the last unreformed public service”.
Further praises went to the force who have managed to cut the number of crime rates while doing their job with less officers on the line and a lower budget to service the police force. The secretary stated that the stop and search law was a priceless tool which if used correctly may aid in reducing crime rates staggeringly especially when targeting knife crime. She said that it was the superintendents it was their duty to make sure stop and searches are properly and fairly conducted by their officers in command on the streets. She said that the power is a double edged sword due to the fact that if it is improperly used it can backfire by causing the public not to trust the police.