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Lammy: “I was frisked, groped and harassed by the police"

STOP AND SEARCH: David Lammy says the experience of a 'ferocious' stop and search has stayed with him

LABOUR MP David Lammy has revealed that he was “frisked, groped and harassed by the police”.

The MP disclosed a childhood encounter with the police in an opinion piece for The Guardian.

Lammy said he was 12 years old when the incident took place in Tottenham, the area that he is now the MP for.

He wrote: “I was walking down Lawrence Road in Tottenham, rocking big hair and NHS prescription glasses, when I was abruptly ambushed by three police officers. Ferociously patting me down, they said I matched the description of a mugger. The reality was that they could not tell one black boy from another. Many years later, the fear and embarrassment of the first time I was stopped and searched for a crime I did not commit remains with me. Speaking to young black men in my constituency and looking at the statistics, it’s clear that nothing has changed.”

The MP for Tottenham used his own experience to highlight the high rates of stop and search black people face, “even though it is less likely for drugs to be found”.

Lammy said the current use of stop and search “entertains a racist fantasy” and cited the drug use of white middle-class men that often goes unpoliced.

“The disproportionate use of stop and search is not only born out of, but also perpetuates, a paranoid and generalised suspicion toward an entire community. The ingrained image of black men being searched by the police feeds into the collective illusion that black men everywhere need to be policed more than others,” he wrote.

New research has revealed that black people are nine times more likely to be stop and searched than white people.

The findings were revealed by a report from the Stopwatch, Release and the London School of Economics and Political Science launched yesterday.

The report, The Colour of Injustice: ‘Race’, drugs and law enforcement in England and Wales, also found that the “find-rate”, how many times drugs were found on black people stopped by the police, was lower for black people than white people. Researchers believe this points to searches being carried out on weaker grounds in comparison to those conducted on white suspects.

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