Hard-hitting film reveals stop and search experiences of young Londoners

stop and search film CNH 1 - mediashotz

A new hard-hitting video by Create Not Hate shows young Londoners sharing their first-hand experiences of stop and search powers and their thoughts on how police relations with young people of colour in the local community can improve.

Impact of stop and search 

Create Not Hate, a non-profit organisation that aims to combat systemic racism and get underrepresented young people into the creative industries, initiated the project for young black people to participate in an on-camera discussion with their local Metropolitan Police force as part of an open and collaborative dialogue.

It was meant to be a chance for police officers to talk to the young people and discuss how they can affect proper change in the relationship between young people of colour and the police and open a positive dialogue between the police and local communities in London. 

Quiet Storm, the creative agency set up by Create Not Hate’s Trevor Robinson, OBE, intended to distribute the film across the UK on multiple media platforms.

The aim was to distribute the film among serving officers to help with ’empathy training’ and encourage change in handling stops and searches. 

Met Police involvement

CNH had been working to this end in partnership with the local council and the Metropolitan Police, however, the Met apparently had to pull out due to “unforeseen circumstances”.

Despite the Met’s absence, though, filming went ahead to give the young people involved a chance to air their views.

Running at six minutes long, the short film features a diverse mix of six young people from South London aged between 16-22 bravely talking about their experiences with the police and what they think needs to be done to improve relations. 

The music for the film was composed by Andy Carroll at The Elements Music, who are generous ongoing supporters of Create Not Hate.

In the film, Emmanuel Areoye, 19, explains that he wanted to go on camera: “Because, as an individual, who is not a criminal, I don’t feel comfortable around police. 

“We’re talking about 16, 17 year olds getting stopped, not just getting stopped, but getting harassed, manhandled because of speculation that you might have done something because of how you look.”

Meanwhile, JT shares a horrifying story about how she was left with a broken tooth and chronic back problems after she was stopped and searched by three male police officers at London Bridge underground station.

She explains: “Basically, they accused me of smoking cannabis and asked if they could search me. 

“I said that’s fine, next thing I know, one of them had swiped my legs and they threw me to the ground. I landed face first. 

“They handcuffed me as one of them was sitting on my back. I was crying. My tooth broke, I had bruising on my face and now I have long-lasting back pain.”

Notting Hill Carnival

The film is being launched pro bono by Create Not Hate ahead of what would have been the Notting Hill Carnival weekend, which has been cancelled for a second year because of the pandemic, a key event for the Black community. 

This launch date is especially poignant because during the festival police are given the power to stop and search people without the need for reasonable suspicion in response.

This is called Section 60 that critics say gives police draconian powers and leads to the disproportionate targeting of African-Caribbean people.

Create Not Hate and Quiet Storm founder Trevor Robinson OBE explained: “We wanted young people who had experienced – or witnessed – stop and search and unnecessary force used by police officers to have the opportunity to talk openly with police officers in a safe space. 

“But most of all we wanted it to be constructive about moving forward. We wanted it to be the first of many open and trust-building conversations, starting a dialogue between police and young people.”

“When the police withdrew, we felt strongly that the young people should still have this experience and share their stories.
“We plan to send this film to every single police officer we can contact, as well as put it out across all social media channels.

In February, the Press Association revealed the Metropolitan Police has disciplined just six officers over the misuse of stop and search powers since 2014, despite receiving almost 5,000 complaints. 

Currently, there is cause for concern that the police don’t receive adequate training around stop and search and the initial idea for the film project aimed to help address that.

Create Not Hate have launched a petition for a review of the training process for stop and search and are calling people to both sign the petition and share the film.