London

Met Police suggests Theresa May 'misunderstands' stop and search

Theresa May Image copyright Getty Images

The Metropolitan Police has defended its use of stop and search after the home secretary warned of "knee-jerk" policing.

The Met Commissioner has previously acknowledged that a rise in knife crime could be connected to fewer stop and searches.

Theresa May cautioned against a "knee-jerk reaction on the back of a false link".

But the Met said the Home Office had "misunderstood" its approach.

Speaking to the London Assembly in September, Met Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe acknowledged that police had relied too much on stop and search in the past.

But he added that the scale of reduction in use advocated by the Home Office had "gone too far".

In a speech to the National Black Police Association, Mrs May, referring to stop and search, said: "Arrest rates are rising. Police time is being saved. Trust is being rebuilt.

"We must not jettison all that good work for the sake of a knee-jerk reaction on the back of a false link."

'Disturbing' crime increase

In a statement, the Met said: "Our clear intention is to continue with the targeted use of stop and search and the Home Office appears to have misunderstood our response to recent rises in knife crime and our future intentions.

"There has been no knee-jerk reaction, nor will there be."

There had been a "disturbing increase" in the number of murders and stabbings, the Met said.

Last year the home secretary introduced a code of conduct for all police forces in England and Wales on their use of stop and search.

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