The first Young Leaders for Safer Cities (YLFSC) interactive stop and search workshops were held across London last week to address misconceptions police and youths have of one another.
The programme is delivered by the Metropolitan Black Police Association’s (MBPA) Voice of the Youth and Genuine Empowerment (VOYAGE) team in partnership with the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) safer neighbourhoods unit. It gives young people aged 14 and 15 years the chance to roleplay and explore aspects of stop and search. The programme also aims to develop greater trust and confidence between both the police and teenagers.
Chief Superintendent Dave Grant, Haringey borough commander, said: “The feedback we get from young leaders is vitally important for the police as it shapes our training and sets the standards for our officers in what is expected of them. In this way, some of the myths will be dispelled and we will move towards a position whereby young people can have confidence that their local police are there to help, not to ‘victimise’ young people.”
Haringey hosted the opening of the programme with 44 YLFSC students and over 30 local police recruits, trainers and volunteers attending. Director of VOYAGE, Bevan Powell, and Haringey chief inspector for partnership and youth, Ian Kibblewhite, opened the workshop.
Mr Powell said: “Stop and search is still one of those areas that can bring about various levels of misunderstanding between police officers and young people. The YLFSC programme provides an opportunity for young people to understand the need and process behind stop and search, but also an opportunity to understand their rights and responsibilities. From an MPS perspective, it gives us an opportunity to work with young people and to feed learning back into the organisation to improve future encounters.”
Chief Insp Kibblewhite said: “A day like this, where police officers and young people can exchange views and better understand each other, should provide greater confidence in the use of stop and search among young people in Haringey.”