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Last Updated: Thursday, 20 May, 2004, 16:38 GMT 17:38 UK
'Everyone wants to be treated with respect'
By Cindi John
BBC News Online community affairs reporter

Jerry Yawe
Jerry Yawe: Would like police to be "more courteous"
Jerry Yawe has more reason than most to hope there will be positive results from a highly critical report on the Metropolitan Police's use of stop and search.

Jerry, from Lambeth in south London, told BBC News Online that police officers first started to stop him in the street from a very early age.

"I got stopped and searched repeatedly when I was still going to secondary school. Now it's very intimidating for an 11, 12 or 13 year old to be stopped on the street to be stopped by people twice their size and age," he says.

Everyone wants to be treated with respect, regardless of their age or how they may look
Jerry Yawe
The south Londoner believes the reason why he was stopped so frequently was purely because of race. And he says the behaviour of some police officers reinforces negative images of them among young, black men.

"When they act in an aggressive manner it can really affect the way you view those kinds of people, especially if they're in uniform."

'Respect'

Jerry is among a number of young people from Lambeth Youth Council who gave evidence to the Metropolitan Police Authority's scrutiny panel on stop and search which produced Thursday's report.

A man being searched by police
Black men are increasingly likely to be stopped and searched
He says young people in Lambeth feel that stop and searches should done in a more courteous manner.

"They understand that criminals have to be stopped but at the same time everyone wants to be treated with respect, regardless of their age or how they may look or even how the media profiles them.

"My experiences with stop and search haven't been good at all and that's one of the reasons I joined Lambeth Youth Council to really try and make a difference, instead of just complaining."

Lambeth Youth Council advises young people on a number of issues including stop and search.

Its members work with local police officers and young people to try to make stop and searches less confrontational.

The project also informs young people about their rights when being stopped and searched.


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