KT Edit: Stop and search has a downside

There have been 46,000-odd knife linked acts in the UK and these figures do not include those who got away or incidents that were not reported.



British Prime Minister Boris Johnson obviously believes that desperate situations call for desperate measures when crime's rising graph is concerned. Priority to the creation of 10,000 more spaces in Her Majesty's prisons indicates a growing menace in a millennial population that is short on jobs and long on free time so the devil has open hours on his workshop. With the 96,000 spaces in the correction facilities already taken and a spike in criminal activity calling for over 10,000 more spaces per year Boris is vying for a long-term plan. If not ten years at least five so that shortage of space does not translate into lighter and more lenient sentences. The highest jump is in knife-related incidents and muggings and stabbings and inner-city gang wars.
While most citizens will be delighted with this hardnose approach and feel a lot more comfortable knowing that someone is doing something tangible about making the streets safer, the call is to empower the police to engage in random stop and search missions. While no one can cavil over the fact that sex offenders and those sentenced for violent crimes are being released prematurely because of overcrowding, this does not sit well with the stop and search option that is fraught with danger. The British 'bobby' traditionally is a gentle, helpful figure, more to give a lost soul directions and be there. To give these relatively benign police personnel this right goes against the grain.
Search and frisk as it does end up being demeaning always. Even at airports it is awkward. To be hauled up outside a supermarket or a theatre or on a street and made to spread one's limbs leads directly to acts of prejudice and racial profiling. The innocent experience a sense of dismay and it hurts to be selected for a body search on grounds of the way one is dressed, one's religion or colour. As much as these factors are officially condemned it is merely human nature for them to fall into the mix. If there is trauma and agony in victims who feel they have not been granted justice for their ordeal, public stop and search efforts are only going to add to the hurt feelings. Something as simple as not fitting in or being in the 'wrong' side of the tracks can have an individual spread-eagled in sight of the public. While one can sympathise with Mr Johnson and appreciate that these intents are predicated to the greater good perhaps the first step before the invasion of privacy is to upgrade knife crimes to first degree felonies with stronger punishment and less parole or suspended first time offence sentences. There have been 46,000-odd knife linked acts in the UK last year, which is an annual uptick of 6 per cent, and these figures do not include those who got away or incidents that were not reported. Criminal acts on the public is a global issue and should be taken seriously. But taking on the public may not be the best route forward.


More news from OPINION
Female leaders are just leaders; they’re not ‘girlbosses’

Opinion

Female leaders are just leaders; they’re not ‘girlbosses’

At a time when the world was only starting to see the emergence of powerful female leaders who spoke passionately about leaning in, being your own role model and asking for what you want, Amoruso’s words were a source of inspiration. But now, it’s not so hard to realise that the girlboss culture has set unrealistic standards for women.

Opinion1 week ago

Covid has taught us to be grateful

Opinion

Covid has taught us to be grateful

Psychologists have found that negative events have a greater impact on our brains than positive ones, referred to as the negative bias. As a result, a lot of people tend to move farther away from gratitude, which is an essential precursor to happiness.

Opinion1 week ago