Sajid Javid backed police in using their stop and search powers today as he axed Theresa May’s tough rhetoric in a bid to woo officers.
The Home Secretary also endorsed spit guards being rolled out to forces around the country in defiance of controversy about the equipment.
Mr Javid used his first speech to the Police Federation to extend an olive branch after years of angry clashes between officers and ministers.
Mr Javid recalled his childhood with brother Bas – now a chief superintendent – to try and convince the federation he understood the challenges facing the police.
The speech was a sharp departure in tone and content from Mrs May as Home Secretary and his predecessor Amber Rudd.
Sajid Javid (pictured today at the Police Federation in Birmingham) backed police in using their stop and search powers today as he axed Theresa May’s tough rhetoric in a bid to woo officers
The Home Secretary used his first speech to the Police Federation (pictured today in Birmingham) to extend an olive branch after years of angry clashes between officers and ministers
Mr Javid said he is ‘absolutely determined’ to put an end to violence that is ‘terminating young lives far too soon’.
Referring to stop and search, he told the Police Federation of England and Wales’ annual conference in Birmingham: ‘Some of you don’t feel comfortable using it – and that’s not how it should be.
‘I have confidence in your professional judgment. So let me be clear – I support the use of stop and search.
Has knife crime surged in Britain?
A knife crime epidemic in London and England’s big cities has seen the number of offences involving blades soar by more than a fifth in the last year.
Police in England and Wales recorded 39,598 offences involving blades in the year ending December 2017, a 22% increase compared with the previous year.
London saw a 44% increase in the number of killings, with more than 150 victims, while the number knife offences in the capital rose by more than 20 per cent to 14,680, separate stats showed.
Offences involving firearms were also up, by 11% to 6,604 recorded crimes.
Knife and gun crimes tend to be disproportionately concentrated in London and other metropolitan areas, the Office for National Statistics said, but it added that the majority of police force areas saw rises in these types of violent crime.
‘You have to do your job and that means protecting everyone.’
The Home Secretary said it is ‘ridiculous’ that spit guards are available in some force areas but not others.
The hoods are made of mesh and can be placed over suspects’ heads to protect officers from being bitten or spat at.
In a speech designed to woo critics, Mr Javid discussed his experiences growing up in a road in Bristol once described as ‘Britain’s most dangerous street’ and his conversations with his brother Bas Javid, a chief superintendent with West Midlands Police.
‘Over the years, I’ve heard what he has to say about policing,’ he said.
‘I know the tricky situations he’s been in. He’s been hurt more times than I want to know from being assaulted on duty.
‘I’ve seen the impact the job has on family life. And, as you would expect from a brother, he doesn’t shield me from the truth.’
Describing being taken out on a ride-along in the back of his brother’s police car in Bristol city centre, he will recall his shock at hearing the abusive language he was subjected to first hand, saying that as a result he understands ‘how hard and horrible it can be being a police officer’.
Mr Javid (pictured today extending his olive branch to police) recalled his childhood with brother Bas – now a chief superintendent – to try and convince the federation he understood the challenges facing the police
Mr Javid used his speech to pledge to officers he would provide ‘tools, the powers and the back-up that you need to get the job done’.
He said: ‘For those of you who stand on the front line, be in no doubt that I will be standing with you.
‘I’m not arrogant enough to turn up here after three weeks in the job and tell you how to do yours.
‘What I will say is that I am listening and I get it. I get that there’s increased demand.’
Mr Javid claimed that, including funds raised through council tax, more than £1 billion extra cash is being invested in policing now than three years ago.
But he accepted there is a need to ‘think more about the long-term funding of the police’, adding: ‘My pledge to you is this: I will prioritise police funding in the Spending Review next year.’
Mr Javid revealed the racial abuse suffered by Chief Superintendent Bas Javid while serving on the front line helped him understand the impact of the job. The Home Secretary (pictured ight as a schoolboy) also recalled their childhood games fighting crime
He added: ‘You’ve told me you’re feeling stretched, overburdened and not sufficiently rewarded,’
‘I know it’s frustrating when your rest days get cancelled – often at short notice.
‘And I know your work can take its toll on your mental and physical health. And you deserve to be respected and valued.’
The tone struck by Mr Javid in today’s speech was sharply different to that struck by Theresa May (pictured today in Downing Street) as Home Secretary and his predecessor Amber Rudd
The federation’s annual conference has been the setting for a number of flashpoints, particularly during Theresa May’s time at the Home Office.
Mrs May was heckled and booed in 2012 after telling officers they should ‘stop pretending’ police were being picked on.
Then in 2014 she shocked those gathered by laying down the law to the federation and hitting them with a raft of surprise reforms.
At last year’s conference, Mr Javid’s predecessor Amber Rudd received a testy response over crime rates and funding.
As of September there were 121,929 officers across the 43 territorial forces in England and Wales – a fall of nearly 20,000 compared with a decade earlier.
The reduction has fallen under the spotlight after a deadly wave of violence hit London and national figures showed rises in knife and gun crime.
In his speech, PFEW chairman Calum Macleod will call on the Government to show support for emergency services workers and ‘agree that they are not society’s punch bags for those fuelled by drink and drugs, or trying to evade arrest’.