Young black men 'don't trust police' in Gloucester
YOUNG black men in Gloucester ‘act shady’ because they don’t trust the police, it has been claimed.
Police also disproportionately use their stop and search powers on the black community, it is feared.
Black community leaders in the city have told police some home truths in a series of hard-hitting talks between them.
Delroy Ellis, founder of the Increase the Peace youth project, said: “Young people tell me that they see the police as a threat and that they don’t get listened to which is why every time they see the police their hoodies go up and they act all shady.
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“It is about regaining that trust and it is something that is not going to happen overnight.
“We’ve had eight young black men in to talk about their concerns.They say they are being stopped and searched more.
“What we need to do now is building bridges.
“They feel like a victim but at the end of the day I have also said if you start to act shady when the police around then they are going to become suspicious of you.”
A meeting of black community leaders and police was held at Tredworth Junior School on Monday night to relay the findings of research into the key concerns of the community.
Fears about a lack of police professionalism and how quick they are to respond to victims were raised.
They also said that stereotypical assumptions were being made and that officers do not represent the multicultural demographic of the area.
It was also argued that the police do not understand things from a young person’s point of view.
Others said that they did not trust the police because they discriminated against them or were unapproachable.
And other people argued that there were a lack of places to go and they were surrounded by drug and gang related issues.
Amy Dyde, service improvement officer at Gloucestershire Police, said: “There was a difference in satisfaction from black victims and other victims in terms of how we dealt with their incident.
“We have gone out and spoken to previous victims about the service they received.
“We also felt we needed to speak to more young people in the black community because their views were more extreme.
“They felt that stop and search is being used disproportionately in the black community.
“We have already started to make changes and it is very positive.
“We want to provide the best service and improve the levels of trust and confidence.”
Superintendent Emma Ackland said: “The work that has been done so far is a good start but there is more to be done. We want to keep improving.
“The fundamental thing behind policing by consent is trust. We want to get that back.”
But Annette Harris, treasurer for Churches For Change, says that it is action, not words that are needed to win young black people over.
She said: “We are holding lots of community events such as the sports day we just ran.
“We have also been getting young people to write how they feel. Quite often they are not strong enough to stand up and talk about their own feelings so writing can help.
“At the end of the day we just need to know how they feel.
“We need to have less talk and more action but I am quite excited about the way ahead.
“This has been a long time in the running and it has sometimes been a windy path but it is moving forward. We are achieving something now.”