HOME Secretary Sajid Javid has confronted the Prime Minister over police funding, demanding millions more to tackle the knife crime crisis.
In a “testy” exchange, he asserted that current spending did “not go far enough”, according to the Daily Telegraph. His intervention comes just months after it was announced extra £1billion would be allocated to help police combat record levels of knife crime. Chancellor Philip Hammond however suggested the police “prioritise” the resources they do have and focus on “real-time” cases over historic investigations.
However, Mr Javid argued bigger changes need to be made to prevent more deaths.
He proposed a major expansion of stop and search powers by changing guidance to give police more freedom to look for knives.
Police officers have been requesting emergency Section 60 powers to be rolled out across the country, which would allow them to search suspects without needing specific grounds.
The Cabinet minister said in the Daily Telegraph: “First and foremost, it’s vital we give the police the powers they need to fight this outbreak and take dangerous weapons off our streets.
“Officers should be confident using existing powers such as stop and search.
“When used effectively, stop and search is a vital tool and I am working with the police to reduce bureaucracy and ensure they can use it in the most efficient way possible.”
He told the Cabinet he wrote a letter to Theresa May with his suggestions, who responded in a “defensive” way.
Mrs May reined in stop and search powers as Home Secretary amid concerns it was a discriminatory policy that targets ethnic minorities.
She said she had said she had not read the letter from Mr Javid but said: “I’m not anti stop and search, I’m just against the illegal use of it”.
The dispute comes as Mr Javid is to meet police chiefs from seven forces hit hardest by the increase in knife crime.
He is expected to come under pressure for emergency resources for cash-strapped police forces.
Knife crime and violence is on the rise in the UK and just this weekend, two 17-year olds were stabbed to death in London and Manchester.