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Young people voice concern over policing

DISCUSSION: Young people spoke of their worries about issues such as stop and search

The BLACK Cultural Archives in Brixton became the forum for a charged conversation on the relationship between young people and the police.

The event, called I Can’t Trust, hosted by youth digital platform, LIVE MAG UK was described as an evening of youth-led discussion and debate aimed at promoting the voice of youth. Organisers said they wanted to provide an interactive platform to explore and voice concerns around the state of race relations and policing in the UK and abroad.

RESPONSE

Speaking exclusively to The Voice, one of the team behind the event, LIVE MAG UK deputy editor Frances Acquaah explained that the magazine had received an overwhelming response from its young contributors on the controversial killing of Ferguson teenager Mike Brown.

“The events in America charged by racial tension provoked an overflow of young people wanting to contribute content and voice their opinion really showed that young people cared and wanted to be heard,” she said. “What we really wanted to do was bring the conversation to life and facilitate the dialogue.”


PANEL: (left to right) PC Errol Patterson, Pauline Pearce, Voice news editor Elizabeth Pears and Kenny Imafidon

The Brixton-based organisation also identified that many young people felt that tension between young people and the police institution was not bound by geography.

“We are seeing it all over the world with the number of political protests increasingly organised by young people” said the Kent university graduate.

EXCESSIVE

I Can’t Trust follows Home Secretary Theresa May’s comments during her recent Stephen Lawrence Memorial Trust lecture in which she expressed her commitment to reigning in the ‘excessive and inappropriate’ use of stop and search. May confirmed that ethnic minorities were more likely to be stopped and searched. She said: “If you are black or from a minority ethnic background you are up to seven times more likely to be stopped and searched than if you are white, and police data shows that only about ten per cent of stops result in an arrest."

Present on the panel was Kenny Imafidon, who became the first person in Britain to sit his A-levels while an inmate in Feltham Young Offenders institute for a crime he did not commit. Imafidon has gone on to be awarded the prize for the UK’s top black student in addition to being instrumental in social policy and youth relations as a trustee of the British Youth Council.

Speaking as a media representative was The Voice news editor Elizabeth Pears whose contribution to creating the Reading the Riots report provided further insight into the causes of the 2011 disturbances.

Representing the police force was PC Errol Patterson who is also behind a project to help families affected by knife crime.

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