Nearly 300 Londoners Took Part in Met Police Webchat

Asking their questions on 'Stop & Search' policy

Yesterday, Commander Tony Eastaugh took part in one of the first live Met hosted webchats themed around stop and search. The lunchtime session allowed the MPS to find out what Londoners think about stop and search and directly answer their questions during the live session.

It was an opportunity to gauge views, opinions and feedback around stop and search but also for Commander Eastaugh to highlight the new MPS approach to stop and search.

Commander Eastaugh answered 19 varied questions, averaging one question every three minutes during the hour-long webchat.

Almost 300 people participated in the webchat with some taking part in the online polls which ran simultaneously with the webchat hosted via the Met website. During the session questions were also taken from Twitter users, using the hash tag #stopandsearchchat, which had been publicised from the Met Facebook and Twitter accounts in advance.

Last month the Commissioner announced that he wanted the MPS to adopt a new approach to stop and search that was more targeted on tackling violence and more focused on intelligence and today's webchat provided an ideal opportunity for the MPS to use the latest IT technology and social media to engage with Londoners directly about stop and search.

Commander Eastaugh, the MPS lead on stop and search said of the webchat:

"This was an excellent opportunity to engage directly with Londoners. It provided a new platform to find out their views and concerns, and generated a healthy debate about how the Met is using stop and search powers in the Capital.

"By using such a dynamic medium we were able to directly respond to questions there and then, whilst also gauging opinions and perceptions on how officers are currently carrying out stop and search.  We will continue to carrying out a wide range of community engagement activities and will be looking at how we can expand the use of webchats in the future. "


A sample question raised during the webchat.

Comment from a north Londoner:
"Why are black people four times more likely to be stopped than white people? Does this mean that the MPS are racist and discriminatory?

Commander Tony Eastaugh replied:
"I fully appreciate that there are concerns around this issue and we are working with community groups to understand the reasons for this more deeply.


"There are several arguments which question the current census data in terms of whether it is an accurate reflection of the rich diversity of London today - but for me that is less of the issue. The key issue for me is that stop and search must be used effectively but sensitively in areas which have highest levels of street crime and criminality."

One of the poll questions posted was: 'Do you think stop and search is important for the safety of Londoners?' - 75% said 'yes', while 20% said 'no' and the rest said they didn't know.


February 2, 2012