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Safety on the streets for young people

This spring, we've been touring our interactive Stop & Think performance programme to schools in the London Boroughs of Havering and Barking & Dagenham.

Funded by the local Safer Neighbourhoods Boards and available to young people aged 11 and over, Stop & Think aims to improve Police and community relations and bust the myths surrounding Stop and Search, including:

• Why the Police use Stop and Search or Stop and Account and the difference between them;
• Young people’s legal rights and responsibilities;
• What behaviours might cause young people to be stopped;
• How to behave during a stop in order that no offences are committed as a result of the procedure itself.

According to Police statistics, those aged between 15 and 24 are more subject to ‘Stop and Search’ or ‘Stop and Account’ than any others.  34% of this age group will be stopped in the course of a year, compared with 1.4% from outside this age group.

It could be that those aged between 15 and 24 are just more likely to be on the street, in the park, or in other public areas… but arrest figures would suggest that they are also more likely to be in possession of drugs or offensive weapons.  However, many young people feel that they are unfairly singled out for Police attention.  Many say that they find the experience humiliating and annoying.

In reality, the figures may point to a smaller number of young people being stopped with greater regularity, but if you ask a group of 15 or 16-year-olds if they have been stopped, a majority will say that they have been, and many will express a negative attitude whether they have actually been stopped or not. 

Stop&Think in schools

Recent feedback from teachers:

“I think it was pitched well to the Year 7 group I watched it with. They were very keen to get involved as they felt ‘on a level’ with the performance. Young male actor was someone lots of the students felt they could relate to.”

“I felt they found the workshop interesting and engaging and learnt a lot about the process of ‘stop and think’ and how they should react if that situation was to occur.”



Stop & Think in schools, images thanks to Sydney Russell School, Dagenham, 2017