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Crime fighter backs girls to be searched

International 26 Feb, 2020 Follow News

Lucy Martindale advocates police searching girls

A British woman who was "forced" into a gang has called for police to use stop and search powers more often on girls and young women in order to "save them".

Lucy Martindale said she was threatened by men wanting her to hold weapons when she was a teenager in Brixton, south London, as she went between estates.

The 29-year-old believes increased police intervention would allow females to explain they were being groomed. "I think stop and search could save them," she said.

Martindale, who is director of anti-knife crime organisation Operation Shutdown, was nine when she witnessed the murder of her cousin who was stabbed in the head with a screwdriver.

She said when she was in her teens, she and other girls on her block were told they would be "knocked out, head-butted and violently attacked" if they did not help gang members.

"I went from estate to estate and boys would say to me - if they see a police van patrolling the area - 'here hold this because they are not going to stop you - they will stop us'," Martindale said.

While the use of stop and search on black youths and men has been controversial, she said she believed if it was "done right, no-one can complain".

She said it would have helped women in situations such as hers. "You will get to the bottom of why she was carrying the drugs or weapons and that can hopefully save her from the grooming," she said.

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