Theresa May’s statement in the Commons today on stop and search strikes me as an important moment. Here, we had a Tory Home Secretary standing up and saying that she understood why some communities felt that stop and search was used unfairly and announcing a review of it.
This is, as I said on Sunday, is quite a change in Tory attitudes. William Hague, who was Tory leader at the time, criticised the Macpherson report for making police reluctant to use stop and search. Just five years ago, David Cameron was emphasising the need to ‘free the police to do far more stopping and far more searching’.
Now, May doesn’t want to scrap stop and search. But her concerns about its use are a reminder that Tory modernisation is not finished yet.
One other thing worth noting is the praise that May had for the Metropolitan Police’s more intelligence led approach to stop and search. It is another reminder of how much of a supporter of Bernard Hogan-Howe, the Met Commissioner, May is. This will prove to be extremely important if Hogan-Howe gets drawn further into the whole row over ‘pleb gate’