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The trust gap: Why young black men in UK feel marginalised by Police


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In recent years, the relationship between black young men and the police in the UK has come under intense scrutiny.

The issues of mistrust and tension between these groups have been the subject of numerous protests and debates, highlighting the deep-rooted issues that continue to divide society.

One of the most pressing issues is the disproportionate use of stop and search powers by police on black young men, which has only served to exacerbate the existing mistrust.

The Guardian reports that the stop and search by the UK police has significantly increased in the year 2021 by 24 percent, close to 700,000 citing Home Office statistics.

It adds that the increase in stop and search by the police is necessitated by the use of drugs. Figures add that 77 percent of all stops lead to a recorded outcome of no further action.

In London alone, the government reports that almost half of all stop and searches take place in the metropolitan area, adding that there are over 38 percent of stop and search for every 1,000 people in London.

This is the highest rate of all police force areas.

Stop and search is a policing tactic that allows officers to stop, search and potentially detain an individual if they have reasonable grounds to suspect that they are carrying illegal drugs, weapons or stolen property.

While the use of these powers is intended to help prevent crime and maintain public safety, they are often viewed as a discriminatory practice that unfairly targets certain communities.

The statistics are alarming: according to a government report, black people are nine times more likely to be stopped and searched than white people in the UK.

This disparity is even more pronounced among young black men, who are 20 times more likely to be stopped and searched than their white peers. These figures are staggering, and they highlight the scale of the problem facing young black men in the UK.

Blacks have the highest rate of stop and search with 158 per1,000, which is the highest across all 118 individual ethnic groups. 

There are several reasons why black young men are more likely to be stopped and searched by the police. One possible explanation is racial profiling.

Despite being illegal in the UK, racial profiling remains a persistent problem.

Police officers may argue that they are acting on intelligence or suspicion, but in reality, many individuals are targeted based on their ethnicity or skin colour.

Another factor contributing to the high rates of stop and search among black young men is the perception that they are more likely to be involved in criminal activity.

This stereotype is not only unfair, but it also perpetuates a cycle of discrimination and mistrust. When young black men are constantly targeted by police, they are more likely to become disenchanted with law enforcement and less likely to cooperate with them in the future.

The use of stop and search powers also raises concerns about the potential for abuse of power by police officers.

Strip searches, in particular, are highly invasive and can be traumatising, especially for young people.

A report by the Independent Office for Police Conduct found that black young men were more likely to be subjected to strip searches than any other group.

This is a clear indication that these powers are being used disproportionately and without proper justification.

The impact of these issues on the relationship between black young men and the police cannot be overstated.

The mistrust and tension that exists between these groups can have far-reaching consequences, including a breakdown in communication and cooperation, and an increase in resentment and hostility.

This not only makes it more difficult for the police to do their job effectively but also creates a climate of fear and insecurity for the wider community.

In order to address these issues, it is essential that the police take steps to rebuild trust with black young men.

This means acknowledging the deep-rooted issues that exist and taking concrete steps to address them. It also means working with the wider community to promote understanding and mutual respect.

One potential solution is to increase the diversity of the police force, particularly at senior levels. This would help to build trust and confidence among black young men, who are more likely to engage with officers who they feel understand their experiences and perspectives.

It is also important to review the use of stop and search powers and ensure that they are being used proportionately and in accordance with the law.

The issues of mistrust and tension between black young men and the police in the UK are complex and deeply ingrained.

The disproportionate use of stop and search powers on this group is a clear indication that more needs to be done to address these issues and rebuild trust. 

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