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Churches told to act on knife crime as stop and search stepped up

The Metropolitan Police Commissioner has said stop and search operations in London will be stepped up to tackle an increase in violent crime - mostly involving knives.

Cressida Dick said children as young as six are carrying knives and 10 year olds are arming themselves with weapons out of fear, feeling "naked" without them.

Thirty people have been stabbed to death in London so far in 2017, a rise of almost a third from 23 during the same period in 2016.

The way stop and search has been conducted in the past has been criticised for targeting ethnic minorities.

Home Office figures show black people alone are four times more likely than white people to face a stop and search, most of which result in no detection of criminality.

Pastor Ade Omooba, Co-founder of Christian Concern, told Premier's News Hour he thinks police should be able to target people.

He said: "If there is a cancer you go to exactly where that cancer is, you zero in on it and you deal with it. So goes for any kind of problem in our community.

"You look at the likelihood of where it is to happen and you target it but with intelligence."

PA wire


The country's top police officer said that the police needed help to reduce knife crime in the capital.

Dick added: "That's something a police officer by themselves or even a police force isn't going to be able to have very much impact on.

"The question there is what are the parents doing? What are the school doing?"

Pastor Omooba, highlighted this point by saying stop and search is just one solution to stemming violent crime. He said parents and churches have a role to play as well.

He continued: "We have a major role - particularly within the African Caribbean community - we're probably one of the most stable institutions within our community and that put's a huge responsibility on our shoulders.

"A lot of these communities have so much respect for the leadership of our churches.

"We need to find ways to work together to ensure that a lot of our churches are outward thinking - reaching out to their communities and being relevant."

Scotland Yard launched the latest phase of Operation Sceptre earlier this month, cracking down on knife crime.

But despite more than 70 arrests for possession of offensive weapons and knives, within a week, three more people had been fatally stabbed.

Listen to Pastor Ade Omooba speaking with Premier's Alex Williams:

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