The Truth About Stop & Search

So in light of a recent discussion with a friend of mine who was recently stopped, searched and had his civil rights and liberties violated, I have decided to share his experience in order to spread awareness and help prevent victims of heinous acts of police malpractice.

The whole thing sounds like a comedy spoof because not only did they racially profile and stereotype this individual from the get go, they openly admitted to stopping him for being a black male in an area of high drug trafficking. They made attempts to intimidate and manipulate the individual without reading him his rights, before placing him under arrest and caused further embarrassment by driving him to a relatives house in order to verify his identify, all the while fishing for a reason for arrest. The three officers who patrol the area of Lee and Hither Green in the borough of Lewisham stated quite brazenly that they were bored and wanted to arrest the individual as they believed that because he was a black male in an area known for drug trafficking, he fit the profile and therefore should be arrested.

When I heard this I was quite shocked, I guess I and many others had grown naïve and quite numb to the stark reality of being stopped and searched, due to rolling eyes whenever the subject was brought up. It was also a reminder of how detached the force are from the community they are supposed to protect and represent. They had stopped an honest working class black male, who pays his taxes that in some way pay the wages of the police force, and demoralised him. They did not state their name nor police station, the reason why they are legally allowed to search him, nor did they provide a record of the search or a means of how the gentleman could obtain a copy. It gets weirder because they said that they’ll be arresting him, but they won’t take him to the station, and set him in the car -still not reading him his rights.

It seems to me that when the police commissioner is appearing on panel shows reeling off statistics, the evidence for the drop in figures could be down to rouge policing practices, such as those faced by friend who had his rights violated rather than protected by fair and responsible means. I guess this is the reason why a lot of us do not trust the Police, instances like this reinforce our distaste for so called ‘custodians of the law’ who abuse their power because they may be ‘bored’ at 1700 on a sunday afternoon.

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I asked whether my friend requested a badge number, names of the officers and some paperwork afterwards but he said he was traumatised by the whole experience. Not only did the three officers demoralise and attempt to manipulate his answers, whilst subjected to their intrusive interrogation, but they openly admitted to discriminating against him based on his racial profile -an Afro Caribbean male in his late twenties, “We are stopping you because you’re a black male and you were acting dodgy.” Now tell me what you define as ‘acting dodgy’: someone waiting near a parked car for the arrival of his partner before moving to a central location [bus stop] because the battery needed charge and could not make or receive calls, or an unmarked police car with three officers inside, driving past you up to eight times in different locations before stopping you when you walked out of Costcutter?
Intimidation to the highest degree, it’s as if they were crawling for an excuse to arrest someone that afternoon and that someone happened to be an innocent black male, who just happened to fit their streotypi-predujicial profile of what a drug dealer looks like.

This whole episode gave me a stark realisation that the Police haven’t changed at all, neither do they understand the people their supposed to protect because you can’t ride around intimidating innocent people because you have a firm belief that all black males are criminals and hoodlums. It also makes me think that not enough people know their rights, more importantly, do we have any rights and how many other miscarriages of justice go unspoken because the victims brush it off as something that is totally normal. Kinda makes me think whether they’re working for the public or the elite, in the upper echelon, as more and more funding comes from the private sector as public sector funds continue to be cut…

To download an App with info about Stop and Search policy and procedure click here.

Feel free to share your experience with us or shin some light on the policy, laws and procedures of the police force, are they different where you’re from?
Comment below or send us an email: spreadtheword@upintheear.com

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