Page last updated at 18:53 GMT, Tuesday, 13 May 2008 19:53 UK

Stop and search increase revealed

Stop and search
Police said the policing of the target areas would be intelligence led

Police will be using more stop and search powers to prevent knife crime in London, following the "horrendous events over the last 48 hours".

From Tuesday officers will make use of searches under section 60 of the Public Order Act which allows police to search people without reasonable suspicion.

The first team of 15 officers will be deployed to an unnamed London borough.

It follows a rise in fatal knife attacks in London, including that of Steven Bigby, killed in the West End.

The 22-year-old died from a stab wound to the chest in Oxford Street on Monday.

'Most stubborn'

Figures show 68 people aged under 25 have been killed in London since the beginning of 2007.

Of those, 13 were teenagers - nine of whom were stabbed.

Among them is Lyle Tulloch, 15, who died after being stabbed in a stairwell in Borough, south London, earlier this month.

Assistant Commissioner Tim Godwin said the carrying of weapons had contributed to the murder rate of young people and extra measures needed to be taken.

'In your face'

He said: "The one (area of crime) which is most stubborn for us and is our area of most serious concern is in fact the fatalities and the stabbings that have been going on, predominantly in central London but across London."

Police had planned the deployment of the stop and search teams for some time but it was also "the natural reaction" to the "horrendous events over the last 48 hours, the increased number of stabbings", he said.

He described the measure as being "fairly in your face" but said the tactic would be handled sensitively and appropriately.

The teams will target areas where intelligence suggests youths are more likely to be carrying weapons.

After the first team is deployed to a key area, another five to 10 teams will take to the capital over the next week to 10 days.

video and audio news
Teams will target the ten worst areas in London.

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