There is strong evidence that violent crime in England and Wales has risen where figures confirm the rise.
We all read much in the media about this subject and like many national news topics, many of us hear the headlines and it is easy to hold the perception that the rise in violence is a risk to all our communities, however, this is not the case and most of what we read is centred around London and other main cities.
The tackling of violent crime however is important because it does and will spread from cities and into quieter communities.
There is already growing evidence of drug related violence from the `county lines` crime networks, where drugs are run from larger towns and cities and into quiet communities.
Violence is not all gang related and it is a tool used by criminals to keep control of their networks and instil fear among those who interfere with their activities.
Knife crime is on the rise and we have seen an increase in the use of acid to inflict serious harm to people.
All police officers have been trained in how to safely respond to an acid attack and how to help a victim before medical assistance arrives.
Under the Government`s serious violence strategy, announced by the then Home Secretary, Amber Rudd, earlier this year, there is to be an inclusion to make it a criminal offence for anyone to be in possession of a corrosive substance in public without a good reason.
The Bill will also include the sale of corrosive substances to young people too.
Recently, the Government has announced that stop and search powers are to be extended too, where police can search someone suspected of being in possession of a corrosive substance and the `reasonable grounds` which an officer needs are to be reviewed.
Clearly the law surrounding the possession of a corrosive substance needs to go hand in hand with search powers for it to become effective, so the extension to police powers will allow for the new law to be robust.
The current Home Secretary, Sajid Javid, also wants to include the possession of laser pointers which target aircraft and drones, where the latter are used unlawfully, such as the carrying of drugs and weapons into prisons, for example.
Interestingly, existing police powers under stop and search cater for the searching of someone who is in possession of an offensive weapon and it could be argued that a corrosive substance is a weapon if used to cause harm.
The reason why there needs to be a specific amendment is because a weapon is defined as something which is made to cause harm, such as a knife or knuckle duster, or something which has been adapted to be used as a weapon, which is quite wide ranging, whereas a corrosive substance is neither made or adapted, hence the need for a specific power to search.
The debate about stop and search goes a lot wider than a headline about the interpretation of `reasonable grounds` and the inclusion of corrosive substances, however; it is about placing the trust in police officers to use this power sensibly and where it can be justified. It is also about senior police officers and ministers having trust in the police to use the power lawfully and not becoming confused with politics, where there has undoubtedly been pressure from certain sectors of our communities in the past where they feel unfairly targeted.
It was the pressure from certain groups within communities which led Theresa May, when Home Secretary, to restrict the use of stop and search from 2014. Four years on and the sharp rise in violent crime has caused an urgent re-think of policy and law.
From a police point of view and one where most senior officers welcome the backing of ministers, it is quite simple – criminals need to feel there is a real risk of being searched and found in possession of unlawful items and not at a low risk, which is currently the case.
For those criminals who are prepared to carry illegal items and those who cause harm to people and our communities, they should face being searched where there are grounds to do so and expect the full weight of the law to be applied if they are found in possession of illegal items.
To redress the situation to make an improvement will take longer than it has taken for it to have become worse, particularly since the demand on police and the reduced resourcing means there are fewer officers to tackle criminals, but it is a start.
In addition, police forces need to become smarter and use targeted patrols in trouble areas which will make better use of limited resources.