“Stop and search is degrading. I feel humiliated in front of other people, as if I’m a thug”
Y-Stop is the product of one year’s consultation with youth groups across the country to find out the kind of problems they face during stop and search, why they do not complain when mistreated by police, and come up with solutions for young people to protect themselves from the negative impact of stop and search.
1,011,533 searches were conducted in England and Wales last year and it is estimated that a quarter of these are on minors aged 17 years and under. Young consultees shared their fear and anxiety when police approach them, how stop and search humiliates them and affects their sense of self-worth, and their struggle with repeatedly bottling their frustration.
“Stop and search is not just the invasion into young people’s lives and privacy, but also the invasion into our psyche” says Jay Jay Spinks, a youth member of the stop and search campaign group StopWatch. “As a result of being stopped and searched so much, the trauma left behind always has me worrying when I see police cars, always having to prepare a reason for being in the location I’m in because not having an answer ready could lead to more questions and allegations”
Y-Stop has been designed by young people themselves and provides training and tools to exercise their rights and hold police to account.
“Instead of expecting young people to remember the law in what is a stressful and frightening situation, Y-Stop equips them with practical skills to communicate more effectively with police and ultimately end the encounter quicker,” explains Natasha Dhumma from the drugs charity Release who coordinates Y-Stop. “It is based on key principles that they can apply during a stop and search to actively influence the outcome and uphold their rights rather than feeling like passive victims”.
The Y-Stop film was made by Fully Focused Productions, a youth-led media organisation. It stars Percelle Ascott (Mandem on the Wall), Danielle Vitalis (Youngers) and Ricky Groves (Eastenders) and is directed by Teddy Nygh (Riot From Wrong).
For more information please visit http://y-stop.org/