Youth Feedback On Anti-Knife Campaign

23 September 2011, 08:12 | Updated: 23 September 2011, 08:14

Police carrying out stop and searches say they'll be clearer why they're doing it after holding an anti-knife campaign in Oxford.

Officers spent 5 days in June encouraging young people to stay away from knives.

Nearly a hundred police were out on the streets in the city centre and around Cowley Road.

No knives were found but 7 people were arrested for drugs.

8 young people were then referred on to youth services, with a further 14 given positive activity days to keep them out of trouble.

Detective Inspector Simon Morton's told Heart what they learnt from feedback from some young people, who didn't understand why they were searched for knives when they'd been stopped for carrying drugs.

"The one lesson from the police side of this is to make sure when we're stopping people that we're telling them exactly why.

"We're not trying to persecute any particular bunch of people. What we're trying to do is stop people carrying knives. If you carry drugs then the chance is you're going to get stopped for that as well."

The force interviewed 150 members of the public before the campaign and then 80 during.

DI Morton says the percentage of people supporting stop and search went up when they found out it was to stop knife crime, with almost 60 percent happy for the tactic to be used.

The use of the police power is controversial. The 1999 review into the death of Stephen Lawrence in London found black people were more likely to be stopped.