The aim of this project is to ensure that young people are given the tools to interact with the police in as safe a manner as possible, equipping them with the skills and knowledge to handle situations where they are stopped and searched. Over a 12-month period, Release and StopWatch are developing training and materials to help them deal with such exchanges so they do not escalate or lead to arrest or injury – it is essentially a harm reduction approach to the policing of young people.
It also aims to empower young people to take action against the police after any discriminatory, unprofessional or unlawful action; informing them about their rights and the law in order to understand when this is happening, and helping them to access advice and support.
To make sure the project uses accurate information and is relevant for young people affected by stop and search, Release has set up a steering group of young people, legal professionals, academics and NGOs committed to its implementation. The steering group is responsible for advising on issues such as who to involve at each stage, the legally qualified members provide input into the written advice materials and the young people provide feedback on proposals both for the delivery and the content of those materials. We are also consulting with youth groups throughout the project for their ideas and insight, making sure that the project properly addresses their needs.
The main outputs of the project are;
- 'How to handle stop and search’ information online and in bust card form;
- A ‘train the trainers’ handbook;
- A training handbook aimed at peer education;
- A legal manual containing all relevant legislation and caselaw
Training will be delivered at different levels to reach a maximum audience;
- ‘Train the trainer’ sessions for youth workers and trainers engaging with young people
- Short peer training activities taking place in the community, for young people to educate each other
- Hour long training sessions delivered in schools
As young people are disproportionately affected by stop and search, it is essential they are informed about when they can be stopped and searched, know how to manage that situation in order to reduce negative outcomes, and how to complain after the event.
If you are a youth worker, educator, trainer or from any organisation working with young people and are interested in getting involved in the project or receiving our training, email Natasha.
If you are a young person who would like to get active in campaigning on stop and search and improving policing email firstname.lastname@example.org and join the StopWatch Youth Group.