Diane Abbott clashes with Tories over Government's plans to step up stop and search

JOE MURPHY

Diane Abbott clashed with senior Tories today by attacking Government plans to step up stop and search to tackle the wave of knife crimes.

The shadow home secretary claimed: “Even the government’s own research demonstrates that random stop and search, in and of itself, does not bring down violent and knife crime.”

Tory deputy chairman Paul Scully hit back: “The Labour Party led by Jeremy Corbyn and Diane Abbot is ideologically opposed to giving the police more powers and are a clear roadblock to getting knives off our street.”

He insisted: “Stop and search takes weapons off our streets and saves lives. The public back its use.”

The row erupted after three major law and order plans were unveiled by the Government, fuelling expectations of an autumn election. Others included a review into serious criminal sentencing and 10,000 more prison places.

Justice Secretary Robert Buckland told Good Morning Britain: “I don’t think it’s about election talk. It’s about, actually, a new government getting into its stride.”

Boris Johnson was hosting a round-table at No 10 bringing together police, probation and prison sectors.

He said in advance of the talks: “Dangerous criminals must be kept off our streets, serving the sentences they deserve - victims want to see it, the public want to see it and I want to see it.

“To ensure confidence in the system, the punishment must truly fit the crime. We have all seen examples of rapists and murderers let out too soon or people offending again as soon as they’re released.

“This ends now. We want them caught, locked up, punished and properly rehabilitated.”

However, critics warned that there was no evidence that longer sentences would result in a reduction in crime.

Liberal Democrat justice spokeswoman Wera Hobhouse said the UK already had the largest prison population of any country in Western Europe and that a different approach was needed.

“For years, Labour and Tory ministers have made sentences longer and longer, without any evidence that they prevent crime,” she said.

“It may sound tough, but it hasn’t made our communities any safer.”

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