AN EX-POLICE chief has called for more officers to use controversial powers to stop and search residents and “reclaim the streets”.

Kevin Moore, former Sussex Police divisional commander for Brighton, said officers had “lost an element of control” when it came to street crime.

Recent figures from the Government show about one in seven stop and searches in Sussex ends in an arrest.

Meanwhile 76 per cent of stop and searches find no illegal items.

Mr Moore said a low percentage of arrests was not concerning.

“Whether we’re finding weapons or not isn’t an issue,” he said.

“If you were doing 100 stop and searches and every single one turned up a weapon, that would be a massive issue compared to what we’re facing right now.”

Slightly more than 1,000 stop and searches were conducted between March 2018 and March 2019.

That amounts to almost three every day.

But ex-chief Mr Moore said stop and search powers were “not anything like enough”.

He said: “I want police officers to feel they can use these powers more often.

“It’s good to see figures are rising because it means officers are being more proactive.

“But I bet compared to ten years ago stop and searches are down by quite a bit.”

The former Sussex Criminal Investigation Department chief said he feared officers were afraid to use the controversial power.

“When Theresa May was Home Secretary she spoke about reforming stop and search because there were worries about discrimination,” said Mr Moore.

“But this has created a fear factor for officers now and they’re often worried about using it.

“I think if you asked the majority of the law-abiding public what they want, they would be in favour of more stop and searches.”

Mr Moore acknowledged stop and search powers have been branded controversial by human rights activists

But he said officers should have discretion to stop and search if they had “reasonable suspicion”.

“There’s a lot of debate over when you should be entitled to conduct a stop and search,” he said.

“But to my mind as long as you have a reasonable suspicion you should be able to do it.

“You would be a pretty poor officer if you can’t justify why you’re doing a stop and search.”

Mr Moore called on Sussex Police to use stop and search powers to target areas where youth crime is high.

“It will act as a deterrent, which is essential to tackling youth crime,” he said.

“When I was district commander for Brighton I remember telling my officers to reclaim the streets.

“I believe we’ve lost an element of control now.”

Brighton and Hove city councillor Jackie O’Quinn said stepping up stop and searches would deter youth drug use.

“You see young people as young as 12 smoking spliffs on the street in their school uniforms, it’s terrible,” the Labour councillor said.

“Sometimes I’m walking my dogs and I get knocked out by the fumes.

“I care deeply about young people but when it comes to drugs we need to get serious.”

But Cllr O’Quinn said increasing stop and searches was not a long-term solution to youth crime.

“I think the police do need these powers,” she said.

“I don’t think it’s a long-term solution, but while we don’t have much money for youth services and prevention then the police need to use it.

“I think it will act as a deterrent to stop them smoking.”

A Sussex Police spokeswoman said the force “constantly” assessed use of stop and search powers.

She said: “This includes Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services, which independently assesses the effectiveness and efficiency of police forces in the public interest.

“Data is scrutinised regularly by an internal Legitimacy and Ethics Board.

“Since January 2018 Sussex Police has hosted a regular stop and search scrutiny panel, providing transparent and independent quality assurance and scrutiny by members of the public from across our communities. Stop and search reports, body worn video and other data are examined.

“If people would like to be involved in the scrutiny panel, they can email or visit