A SENIOR local police officer has defended the use of stop and search in Inverclyde.

Chief Superintendent Gordon Crossan says the practice is necessary to prevent crime and protect the public from those who carry weapons.

His comments come after it was revealed that there are more stop and searches being carried out by police in Scotland than their counterparts in England and Wales.

The trend comes despite the introduction of a new, more strict code of conduct last year.

Ch Supt Crossan, who is divisional commander for Inverclyde and Renfrewshire, said: “I would like to reassure communities that Renfrewshire and Inverclyde police continue to use stop and search as part of our strategy to tackle violence.

“We have recovered many weapons from people in public and will continue to act on information and intelligence where appropriate within new codes of practice.

“I sincerely wish we didn’t have to do so, but criminals continue to carry weapons with intent to injure or kill.”

The chief superintendent says that stop and search is an essential tool to help protect members of the public and thwart thugs. He has also stressed that careful consideration is always given before officers stop someone. 

Mr Crossan, who has urged anyone with concerns about stop and search to contact him, said: “My officers have my support to use the code of practice to keep themselves and communities safe.

“I have every faith my team are 100 per cent ethical in use of significant police powers.

“We are committed to using all powers legitimately to keep people safe.”