Lambeth saw more stop and search operations than any other London borough, latest police figures show.
The Metropolitan Police’s stop and search dashboard reveals a total of 1,042 searches took place in Lambeth over the last month with Tower Hamlets coming in second at 843 and Newham in third with 677.
Reasons for stops range from suspected drug offences to possession of weapons with the most frequent reason given as the suspected possession of stolen property with police saying this helps reduce violent crime.
Chief Superintendent Ade Adelekan of the Violent Crime Taskforce said: “I want to reassure Londoners that we are throwing everything we can at the problem of violent crime and it is working, it is starting to calm down but we need the help of Londoners.
“We need to galvanise communities to help us.”
This comes following a call at the start of this year for an increase in police stop and searches throughout London following a rise in violent crime.
However, the technique has been criticised for alleged racial biases and for alienating young people from the police service.
Statistic from the government’s website show across the UK black people are eight times more likely to be stopped than white people, while members of all ethnic minority groups are four times more likely than white people to be stopped.
This is particularly significant in Lambeth where 24% of residents are black.
Metropolitan Police statistics show in Lambeth black residents made up almost double the amount of all other stops and searches over the past year.
The majority of these have been young with almost all under the age of 30.
Lambeth Labour councillor Mo Seedat, cabinet member for the voluntary sector, partnerships and community safety, criticised the technique.
He said: “Stop and Search can be a blunt instrument with a history of misuse.
“Whilst strong enforcement is warranted, it is my view that neighbourhood consent-based policing is the best of keeping our communities safe.”
According to the UK government’s website the police have the power to stop and question anyone they see fit to at any time, however they must present warrant cards, while police community support officers must be in uniform.
A full list of police stop and search powers can be found at https://www.gov.uk/police-powers-to-stop-and-search-your-rights.
Photo: Evening Standard
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