ALL youths suspected of having knives should be stopped and searched by police, it has been claimed.

Lois Perry, the representative of the Reclaim Party for the South East, said any youth who is suspicious should be searched by officers in Southend.

Ms Perry said all young people should be searched regardless of their background following a high-profile stabbing in Leigh.

A teenage boy was stabbed in The Broadway in Leigh on June 3, and followed a string of incidents of anti-social behaviour and dispersal orders being issued.

Ms Perry said: "The police must stop and search every single youth with whom they have a reasonable cause to, on a regular basis – no matter what race, creed or gender.

"This is a very middle-class area. The stabbing on June 3 highlights the creeping rise of knife crime to all areas post-pandemic.

"This is particularly shocking in Leigh – recently voted Britain’s best place to live."


Ms Perry's call for action follows Sir David Amess, MP for Southend West, also calling for more stop and search powers for police following the incident, and the fatal stabbing on Luke Bellfield in Old Leigh on February 27.

Ms Perry was raised in Leigh and was recently appointed South East representative for The Reclaim Party led by Laurence Fox, who said police should be “searching every child, including mine" and called for harsher punishments for those found with a knife.

Essex Police said they have carried out 1,100 stop and searches in the first five months of 2021 and have increased police visibility in the district.

Inspector Paul Hogben from Southend Police Station said: "To stop and search someone we must have reasonable grounds to suspect that they are in possession of the item we are searching for, for example a knife.

"If we have grounds for that suspicion then that person will be stopped and searched.

"We are continually developing intelligence relating to those involved in knife and gang crime and this intelligence helps inform our grounds for search.

“We have recently launched Project Servator in Southend and I believe this will increase the number of stop and searches where we’re able to take knives off our streets."

Project Servator sees specialist training for officers to spot signs of people preparing to commit crimes.

Insp Hogben added that 1,000 fewer crimes had been recorded in Southend in the year up to May 2021 with 173 fewer violent incidents.