London

Metropolitan Police commissioner: Stop-and-search 'to continue'

More people should tell police that friends or relatives carry weapons so they can be stopped and searched, Scotland Yard's new commissioner said.

Bernard Hogan-Howe pledged to continue checks on London's streets, saying the powers "can be effective".

They were even more successful "when people give us information into who we should be stopping", he said.

It was better to stop someone and find a knife than to end up arresting them for murder, he told BBC London 94.9.

Mr Hogan-Howe, who was appointed as the head of the Metropolitan Police (Met) on Monday, said that when someone regularly carried a weapon, their "brothers will know, the girlfriends will know, the people they go out with every night will know".

"If they tell us, we'll make sure we stop those people, and therefore make our stop-and-search even more effective."

Trust in police

After the attempt to bomb a nightclub in central London in 2007, the use of Section 44 stop-and-search powers was escalated, with more than 250,000 people being checked in 2008-09.

This was the highest number on record and more than twice the level of the previous year.

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Media captionBernard Hogan-Howe talks to BBC London 94.9's Eddie Nestor

A public outcry followed, especially as the searches disproportionately affected minority groups, and they were scaled back by the last commissioner, Sir Paul Stephenson, who quit in July.

Mr Hogan-Howe, an ex-commissioner of Merseyside Police, acknowledged that under him, the Met would need to build the trust of people and officials in London.

Asked whether the level of trust in the force had fallen after last month's disorder in London, plus the controversy over links between Scotland Yard and News International, the 53-year-old replied: "It seems as though it has.

"There's no doubt that with the riot, with the events of the change of leadership and all the issues that have gone on this year, it would be amazing if people hadn't asked a lot of questions, and therefore their trust might have been affected."

But he said he was a man who kept his promises and was "in it for the long haul".

"Nobody will ever work harder for Londoners," he added.

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