Stop and search increases by more than 400 per cent across South Yorkshire

Stop and search has increased by more than 400 per cent across South Yorkshire.
Stop and search has increased by more than 400 per cent across South Yorkshire.
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The Chief Constable of South Yorkshire Police has revealed stop and searches carried out by police in the last 12 months have increased by more than 400 per cent in a bid to tackle serious and violent crime.

Chief Constable Stephen Watson said officers had stopped potential offenders 418 per cent more compared to the previous year.

South Yorkshire Police Chief Constable Stephen Watson

South Yorkshire Police Chief Constable Stephen Watson

He revealed how a special task force, consisting of one inspector, three sergeants and 25 police constables are out every day across South Yorkshire carrying out stop and searches.

Officers can carry out a stop and search on a person if they are suspected of carrying a weapon, illegal drugs, stolen property or have something that could be used to commit a crime.

Mr Watson said the increase in stop and search has been made possible after the force received an additional £1.6m from the Government to tackle violent crime.

The Chief Constable said: "With the money we have bolsted Operation Fortify to nut into the causes of violent crime and find those responsible.

"We also have a task force on a daily basis carrying out stop and search.

"Our stop and search figures in the last 12 months have increased by 418 per cent.

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"We arrested 1,500 additional people last year and we were the only metropolitan force in the last quarter to see an actual reduction in serious and violent crime in the country.

"We are putting that money to really good use and our people are working really hard to perpetuate what is coming from that."

His comments come following two murders across South Yorkshire in the spate of three days.

Lewis Bagshaw, 21, died after being stabbed in Sheffield last Sunday, July 20.

A 16-year-old boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, and Scott Lee Winter, 39, of Southey Avenue, Sheffield have both been charged with murder.

A 24-year-old man who was arrested on suspicion of assault has been released under investigation.

Nadeem Qureshi, 40, was found dead on wasteland in Sheffield with extensive injuries on Wednesday, July 24.

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Two men, aged 30 and 48-years-old, have been arrested on suspicion of his murder.

The Chief Constable said although the money is "welcome", it is a one off lump sum.

"I cant recruit any officers on the back of it, because if I am going to recruit people I need the money for the next 30 years," he said.

"Of course the money has been very welcome, but what it really supports is us working better with our partners, being better at problem solving and also some of the more practical things like boots on the ground, hands in the pockets and stopping bad people from harming our children and we are doing that really well."

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Mr Watson also welcomed Prime Minister Boris Johnson's pledge to recruit 20,000 more police officers across the country.

He said: "More police officers doing more policing and being more visible on the street makes crime go down. You don't have to go to Cambridge to work that out."

"This is exactly what local people have been asking for and I am particularly excited at the opportunity that this represents. Given that the announcement has only just been made, there is more detail to follow but as one of the larger forces in the country, I am confident that our share of the uplift will be substantial. Any extra officers will be in addition to the 220 officers that we have already committed to recruiting."