Mother of murdered teenager tells stop and search critics to stop 'tying hands of police' in fight against knife crime

Jason Isaacs was chased down by attackers on mopeds and stabbed to death a year ago

Lizzie Dearden
Home Affairs Correspondent
Wednesday 21 November 2018 13:13 GMT
Jason Isaacs, 18, was killed in an unprovoked stabbing attack by perpetrators riding mopeds in Northolt
Jason Isaacs, 18, was killed in an unprovoked stabbing attack by perpetrators riding mopeds in Northolt (Facebook)

The mother of a murdered teenager has hit out at critics of police and stop and search powers for “making their job more difficult” as they battle rising violent crime.

Sharon Isaacs’ son Jason died a year ago after an unprovoked attack as he walked to a party with friends in northwest London.

The 18-year-old was chased down by two mopeds and died of multiple stab wounds in hospital three days later.

In the wake of 120 killings so far this year in London, his mother said she would not “remain silent” or “become a statistic” as more young lives are taken away.

“There are too many families suffering at the hands of others,” she said. “The second you decide to carry a knife, there is a very strong possibility that you will ruin a family’s life and your own. We need to get knife crime under control. For those who try and tie the hands of the police in making their job more difficult, I ask you to stop and look at all the murdered teenagers’ faces.

“If we collectively gave a little more support to the police using stop and search and enforcement, things would change.”

Some police officers have linked plummeting stop and search rates to rising knife possession and stabbings since Theresa May changed the rules amid racism accusations in 2014, when she was home secretary.

Met Police Commissioner Cressida Dick wants stop and search to include acid attacks

Critics say the change, alongside the loss of 20,000 police officers since 2010, has let people carry weapons with impunity.

Home Office figures show that in the first three months of 2018, police conducted 282,248 stop and searches in England and Wales – a fall of 7 per cent on the previous 12 months and the lowest number since current data collection started in the year to March 2002.

While overall use of the tactic had fallen, the proportion of stop and searches leading to an arrest (17 per cent) was the highest since the statistical series started.

Separate analysis by the campaign group Stopwatch showed that while police use of stop and search powers has fallen significantly, there has been an increase in racial disparities in the policing and prosecution of drug offences.

It said forces that cannot use stop and search fairly and effectively should have the powers taken away from them “until they can show that they can be trusted to use these powers appropriately”.

Home secretary Sajid Javid and mayor of London Sadiq Khan are among the politicians who have recently said that police have their support for intelligence-led stop and search to take weapons off the streets.

“I want officers to feel confident, trusted and supported in using stop and search, and I will be looking at ways to reduce bureaucracy and increase efficiency in the use of this power,” Mr Javid said last month.

Earlier this week, Mr Khan announced £13m of funding to tackle serious youth violence in the capital, and there is a nationwide shift towards a “public health approach” to prevent children from being drawn into crime from a young age.

Ms Isaacs said the loudest voice in the knife crime debate should be parents who have lost their children.

“It goes well beyond the police,” she added. “We need to ask ourselves, what are 13- to 16-year-olds doing out at 10pm, hanging around on street corners when they should have school the next day? Parents have a good idea of what their kids are up to and if you don’t, I would urge you to be proactive. Know who their friends are, go through their phones. You have a chance to intervene when the issue is a ‘dripping tap’. Your parenting may save a life.”

Her son’s family and friends were to release balloons to mark the one-year anniversary of the teenager’s death on Wednesday.

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Mr Isaacs, who was working as an apprentice carpenter, was walking in Northolt, west London when he was attacked on the night of 18 November 2017.

Police and paramedics arrived to find him suffering from multiple stab wounds and he died in hospital.

Ms Isaacs said she clings on to the memory of her son “every minute of every day” and appealed for people to help police identify outstanding suspects in his killing.

She added: “On one hand it seems like yesterday Jason kissed me goodbye and I am waiting for him to walk through the front door. On the other, this has been the worst year imaginable and I know it won’t get better as Jason’s seat will be empty for every Christmas and birthday to come.”

Two men have been charged with Mr Isaacs’ murder, although detectives believe two more suspects are still at large and a £20,000 reward remains on offer for information leading to the arrest and prosecution of those responsible.

Detective Chief Inspector Noel McHugh, who leads the investigation, said: “Our enquiries have established that there were two other males involved that night.

“I totally understand that there is a reticence to make that call but I guarantee we will manage your information with the utmost sensitivity. Someone out there knows who the other suspects are. My team won’t stop working to track these individuals down and bring them before the courts, but I need your call.”

Anyone with information is urged to contact the incident room on 0208 785 8099 or contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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