21st Aug, 2018

Coventry young people question police on stop and search

Felix Nobes 9th Aug, 2018 Updated: 9th Aug, 2018

YOUNG people from across Coventry met with police officers to share their experiences and encourage co-operation with the force.

Positive Youth Foundation’s Ask West Midlands Police (#ASKWMP) social action campaign closed with a consultation session with WMP at Hillfields Young People Centre.

The campaign, which has been running since April 2017, provided the platform to ask questions, share experiences of interaction and give feedback on how these interactions affected their views of the police.

Key themes included the often criticised stop and search protocol as well as police presence in local communities and the city centre.

The charity says the focus of the campaign is to increase transparency and give the police a better understanding of the issues important to young people.

Katie Davis, programme coordinator at PYF, said: “The process of the campaign has been engaging from start to finish.

“Before the project we knew that interaction between young people and the police may have been seen with initial disapproval or negativity.

“However, when we started asking young people to offer questions it sparked a really healthy debate and a keen interest for them in having their voices heard.

“We’ve worked closely with WMP for many years which has always had a positive effect on the groups we work with, so building opportunities to broaden this interaction can only be a good step.”

Questions for the local officers were collected from young people and social media was also used to ask questions directly to officers, with the answers then published through a series of videos.

Police constable Vicky Hobbs, young people’s officer at WMP, said: “The young people involved were allowed to ask anything they liked that effected them in their day to day lives.

“Stop and search ended up being a big point of discussion as well as the day to day operational duties of Coventry officers.”

Andrew Jack, Trustee of PYF, added: “This is an important project for young people in Coventry as it gives them an opportunity to get in front of police officers in a positive manner. This project is another step toward to developing a good relationship.

“By hearing each other’s views, we hope to build a better understanding of each groups’ priorities, hopes and fears, and then to develop meaningful projects that bring about positive social change.”

Positive Youth Foundation have also been successful in an application to The Home Office Knife Crime Community Fund for funding to help extend its work to tackle knife crime related matters in the city.

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