A collective of 15 Black organisations have come together to call on MPs and London’s Metropolitan Police to suspend controversial stop and search law, Section 60.
The collective of organisations, whom were brought together by the director of Just for Kids Lawm Shauneen Lambe, are seeking to get the controversial policy banned due to ‘rising concerns about the deteriorating relationship between young people and the police’.
In a report which outlines the aims of the ‘Stop and talk’ campaign, it was argued that Section 60 is ‘discriminatory’, after research has showed that Black people are 37 times more likely than White people to be stopped and searched under in England and Wales.
It was also revealed that Black people are ‘more likely to be stopped across all forms of stop and search than White people’.
Issues over the policy being ineffective and damaging relationships between the community and the police have also been cited as reasons for Section 60 to be scrapped.
The organisations, which include Young Hackney World, Art Against Knives and Mediorite, all work directly with young people in London and each reported that ‘little had changed’ since last year’s disorder.
Lucy Ferguson, spokesperson for Stop and Talk and director of Hackney-based creative youth organisation YH World, said: “We believe that stop and search is the embodiment of the negative relationships young people have with the police. This every day occurrence dehumanises young people, often with little reason given and no differentiation made between criminal and victim. ”
“The breakdown in relations means that young people don’t think about going to the police to report crime or to explain what’s happening in their communities. There are kids I’ve spoken to who are caught between the gangs and the police. The gangs are threatening them on the one hand and the police are treating them like criminals on the other, so they are left with nowhere to go.”
“We want to bring this issue to the attention of the nation and encourage people to put themselves in the shoes of young people who feel victimised and excluded because of stop and search.”
Ondre Roach, an 18-year-old from Hackney who has been stopped more than 30 times, said: “We would go somewhere to chill and have a joke after school, just being teenagers, and then someone would be stopped by the police and it would just change your whole mindset and we would get annoyed and say something and they would say something back and that’s when the problems start.”
Jenkins Akinola, a 19-year-old business student, added: “I’ve been stopped well over 20 times. They are just stopping children because they are Black. They need a bit more info before they stop someone. If a group of kids aren’t bothering anyone and not doing anything they are harassing them and it’s not on.”
To find out more visit: www.stopandtalk.co.uk. or use #stopandtalk to share the campaign on Twitter.
You can also watch “Pagan” a short film highlighting the issues online or at art exhibition, FREEDOM on 9th August 2012, Art Against Knives gallery at BOXPARK, Shoreditch.