UK govt boosts prisons, police powers in crime clampdown

Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson leaves the door to welcome King Abdullah II of Jordan at 10 Downing Street in London, Wednesday, Aug. 7, 2019. Johnson holds bilateral talks and a working lunch with the King of Jordan. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)

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LONDON (AP) — British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is promising more prisons and stronger police powers in an effort to fight violent crime.

The government announced plans Sunday to create 10,000 more prison places to ease overcrowding and said it would allow police to stop and search people without reasonable suspicion “if serious violence is anticipated.”

Such powers are contentious because young ethnic-minority men are disproportionately likely to be stopped and searched.

Opposition Labour Party law-and-order spokeswoman Diane Abbott said it was “a tried-and-tested recipe for unrest, not violence reduction.”

Official statistics show that violent crime has begun to rise after declining for two decades.

The crime clampdown is the latest in a series of policy promises that Johnson, a Conservative, has made since taking office last month, sparking speculation that an early election is looming.

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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