Just when you thought Boris Johnson and the Conservative Party couldn’t be more out of touch, he digs deep and pulls it out of the bag.
In an interview with ITV, which is currently doing the rounds for all the wrong reasons, the Prime Minister described stop and search policing as “a kind and loving way” to combat violent crime.
Stop and search has been widely condemned as being one of the most blatant and punitive examples of institutional racism in policing. Human rights organisation Liberty has said it will “compound discrimination” in the UK.
However, Boris wants to see more of it, telling reporters at Surrey Police HQ: “I disagree with the opponents of stop and search. Section 60 Stop and Search orders, I think, can play an important part in fighting crime.”
This comes as part of the government’s ‘Beating Crime Plan’. A central element of the plan is to lift current restrictions on the use of Section 60 stop and search powers so that officers can carry out searches without reasonable grounds if it’s in an area where they feel serious violence is expected.
“I think that giving the police the backing that they need in law to stop someone, to search them, to relieve them of a dangerous weapon—I don’t think that’s strong-arm tactics,” Johnson said. “I think that’s a kind and a loving thing to do. The people who often support stop and search most passionately are the parents of the kids who are likely themselves to be the victims of knife crime.”
In addition to this, nearly 10 years after Londoners were asked by the Tories to clean up the capital for free, Boris and Home Secretary Priti Patel also announced that a further deterrent of anti-social behaviour would be to sentence those found guilty to community service and yes, he used the phrase “chain gangs”.
He said: “If you are guilty of anti-social behaviour and you are sentenced to unpaid work, as many people are, I don’t see any reason why you shouldn’t be out there in one of those fluorescent-jacketed chain gangs visibly paying your debt to society.”
Home Secretary Priti Patel, who was with Boris when he visited Surrey Police HQ in Guildford, wrote in the Daily Mail that unpaid work cleaning streets will be reintroduced as “the public want to see justice done and criminals pay the price for their crimes.”