Birmingham 'in near lock-down' after three stabbing deaths in a week - but does stop and search actually work?

After three stabbing deaths within days of each other in Birmingham last month, police in the city were granted increased stop and search powers.

West Midlands Police (WMP) were granted a Section 60 Order, meaning officers could stop and search anyone without even suspecting them of committing a crime.

As a result, the force arrested 30 people of the 400 they stopped - a strike rate of one in thirteen.

The increased stop and search powers were an immediate response to what the chief of WMP branded a "national emergency", adding that Section 60 Orders cannot solve the problem long term.

As WMP tackles the highest volume of knife crime it has seen in eight years, ITV News National Editor Allegra Stratton spent time with the force to see if the Section 60 response is making a difference.

West Midlands Police have imposed a Section 60 Order, which allows them to search anyone at all. Credit: ITV News

The force claims the action has allowed them to carry out hundreds of searches and recover several blades which could potentially be used to kill or harm, but they say "there is a long way to go".

Detective Superintendent Ian Parnell, who is West Midlands' lead on knife crime, told ITV News: "We need to engage with young people, with parents, with schools, with communities to get to the route cause of why it is that some young people feel it necessary to carry weapons like this."

He added: "The policing response isn't going to solve this issue alone."

Detective Superintendent Ian Parnell says 'there is a long way to go' to tackle knife crime. Credit: ITV News

The increased stop and search powers came in response to the deaths of 16-year olds Sidali Mohamed and Abdullah Muhammad, who, along with 18-year-old Hazrat Umar, were killed in Birmingham last week.

There has been a huge increase in violent deaths throughout the country, with knife attacks upon teenagers rising by 93% in the past five years, in England

Theresa May has vowed to tackle the causes of knife crime by addressing the issues which lead “so many young people” to carry blades, but she has denied reductions in police numbers were to blame.

Several blades have been recovered following the force's use of the Section 60 Order. Credit: ITV News

Britain's most senior police officer rebuffed the Prime Minister's remarks, saying there is "obviously" a link to violent crime and police cuts.

Speaking on radio station LBC, Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick said: "There is some link between violent crime on the streets obviously and police numbers, of course there is and everybody would see that."

She was speaking following the stabbings of two other teenagers who were both killed in London before their 18th birthdays.

ITV News spent time with West Midlands Police. Credit: ITV News

In response the Metropolitan Police say it carried out 2,500 stop-and-searches in just three days, as it tried to quell the number of violent deaths.

But in Birmingham, ITV News spoke to one young man involved in knife crime who says stop and search does not work.

Ryan Stanley, who was jailed for a stabbing, does not think Section 60 has the desired effect on crime.

Ryan Stanley, whose friend was stabbed near a university in Birmingham, does not believe stop and search works. Credit: ITV News

When asked if the police power works he said: "No, definitely not, because when section 60 was happening, my friend got stabbed outside the university, I was with him."

As the extension of stop and search powers across Birmingham come to an end they still remain contentious, and are acknowledged to be a short-term solution only.