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Coffee House

What does new Number 10 hire mean for stop-and-search reform?

24 April 2014

5:00 PM

24 April 2014

5:00 PM

As James revealed on Coffee House earlier, Max Chambers will take over from Patrick Rock on the home affairs brief in the Number 10 policy unit. One thing that will be particularly interesting to watch is whether Chambers’ appointment leads to a shift in Number 10’s stance on stop-and-search. Rock had been one of the key figures blocking Theresa May’s reforms to the power for the police, for fear that it would make the Tories appear soft on crime. So will the new adviser be more amenable to change?

I am told that Chambers is open to ideas on reform of stop-and-search and is keen to see more evidence of the need for changes. Indeed, he wrote earlier month that the greater use of stop-and-search and other proactive policing policies ‘correlates strongly with the great crime decline’, adding:

‘Policymakers would do well to remember this as they tweak with stop-and-search, though there are certainly big improvements to police practice that can be made.’

He’s clearly not won over yet. But perhaps May will, if she is able to produce persuasive evidence for these changes that she feels would have a great impact not just on the relationship between the police and ethnic minority groups but also between those groups and the Conservative party, find Chambers more receptive to her arguments than his predecessor.

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