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Youth Group calls for more stop and search training for police in Waltham Forest
There is a “significant lack of trust” between young people and the police, according to research.
A survey by the Youth Independent Advisory Group (YIAG) also found a majority of people aged between 14 and 21 did not have their rights explained to them while they were the subject of a stop and search.
The group, which works with police and Waltham Forest Council to shape community safety policy, has called for officers to be better trained.
The report, presented on Monday, is the result of a survey of 174 young people in Waltham Forest.
It found 67 per cent of those stopped and searched were not made aware of their rights and were not given the proper paperwork.
The report said many young people said police speak to them as if they were “thugs” and with “terrible attitudes”.
But 95 per cent had not reported their negative experiences because they didn’t believe anything would be done.
Summarising the reports findings, YIAG member Ric’Keisha Dalson, 16, said: “If the only interaction young people have with police is negative then there will always be a negative relationship between young people and police.
“If my privacy was being continually invaded and I was being publicly humiliated every other day for no apparent reason, I’d dislike the police force too.
“Something needs to change.”
The YIAG was asked to undertake the survey by the council after a member revealed a negative stop and search experience.
Police Officer Richard Graham, Waltham Forest Partnership and project officer for the Gangs Task Force, said: “We don’t always get stop and search right but we do get it right most of the time.
“Officers recognise that we are accountable for our actions and that stop and search must be used in a fair and justifiable manner.
“The use of stop and search is an important tool in the fight against crime and we know that the public supports it.
“We are working with the YIAG to deal with the issues that have arisen from the report.”
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