Stop and search overhaul planned by Met

Bernard Hogan-Howe admitted that some of his officers had, in the past, failed to treat people in a professional manner

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The Metropolitan Police commissioner has ordered a radical overhaul of stop and search policing in London.

During a question and answer session, Bernard Hogan-Howe admitted that the tactic had not always been used professionally.

The BBC understands there will be new limits on issuing section 60 orders - which allow searches without suspicion.

But officers defended their right to use the tactic, which they say helps target drug and knife crime.

"It is a complex area, but by training and education we can help our officers to deal with it.

"One, to target searches properly.

"Number two, when we do do it, even if we end up with resistance, we come out of that better if we remain professional, cool and calm," said Mr Hogan-Howe.

"Sometimes we are not always able to manage that," he said.

Start Quote

They come aggressive and grab you up against a wall”

End Quote Brixton teenager

Tensions caused by stop and search were highlighted 13 years ago in the Macpherson report, which looked into how the Met failed to properly investigate the murder of Stephen Lawrence.

Last year, Ann Juliette Roberts, 37, of Upper Edmonton, north London, won permission to bring a landmark challenge over the legality of stop and search powers used by police to tackle knife and gang crime.

Her lawyers said statistical evidence showed that a black person was more than nine times more likely to be searched than a white person.

A group of black teenagers in Brixton said their experience of stop and search was negative.

One said: "If they approach us in a calmer way we would feel safer. But they come aggressive and grab you up against a wall."

Another said: "All of us are just criminals [in their eyes]."

Terance Smith, a youth worker in Lambeth, south London, said: "No-one will want to aspire to work for them, interact with them.

"It's got so bad now they [young black men] won't even talk to them about crimes, serious crimes.

"A majority of the time it's stop and search [which is the problem]."

Ch Supt BJ Harrington said: "What we are already doing is making sure that officers are properly directed, they're supervised, they understand what they need to do.

"Stop and search is important. They just need to do it well."

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