Just amazing. The Home Secretary is going to tell police forces to scale back their use of stop and search. Why? Because five forces have piloted a more selective, intelligent pattern, wittily entitled Stop and Think. That has resulted in fewer people being stopped, but a higher proportion of them being convicted.
It sounds so simple. But when did we last have a government decision based on the rational evidence of a pilot? Under Thatcher, experts were devalued as producers acting in their own interests, trial runs were at the mercy of unscrupulous opponenets, so we drifted into conviction politics, instant action which backed personal hunches with endless government resources. (The way Michael Gove operates, for instance).What a relief, however briefly, to see that pattern change.