U.K. govt boosts prisons, police powers in crime clampdown

Prime Minister Boris Johnson backs ‘stop-and-search’ power; says will create 10,000 more spaces in prisons.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is promising more prisons and stronger police powers in an effort to fight violent crime.

The government announced plans on Sunday to create 10,000 more prison places to ease overcrowding and said it would allow police to stop and search people without reasonable suspicion “if serious violence is anticipated.”

Such powers are contentious because young ethnic-minority men are disproportionately likely to be stopped and searched.

Opposition Labour Party law-and-order spokeswoman Diane Abbott said it was “a tried-and-tested recipe for unrest, not violence reduction.”

Official statistics show that violent crime has begun to rise after declining for two decades.

The crime clampdown is the latest in a series of policy promises that Mr. Johnson, a Conservative, has made since taking office last month, sparking speculation that an early election is looming.

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