Fifteen years after the Stephen Lawrence Inquiry, black people are still six times more likely to be stopped by police than white people.
Newham Monitoring Project (NMP) is an independent grassroots anti-racist organisation that has supported people challenging racist or unfair policing in east London since 1980. Now we need your support to help us continue this vital work and take on a new challenge – monitoring the impact of the government’s new stop and search reforms.
The police are still largely unaccountable for the misuse of stop and search powers and the often devastating impact this has on the lives of individuals - particularly young people - and communities. Research shows a large proportion of Londoners have little faith in the police complaints system. As a result, the level of complaints in London for stop and search is very low – less than 1% on average. Every year, only around 10% of police complaints are successful and allegations of police racism have around a 1% success rate.
Growing pressure has forced the government to introduce reforms to stop and search, to “help local communities hold the police to account for their use of the powers”. The reforms include a new 'code of conduct' that promises to measure the success or failure of stop and search by the volume of public complaints about its misuse.
However, making complaints is frustrating and time-consuming. We believe that unless more people are given expert, independent support to hold the police to account by making complaints then these reforms will fail to bring about genuine change.
As one of the UK’s most experienced anti-racist organisations, we are asking you to stand with us in supporting local communities in east London to put the government's new reforms to the test. It’s time we put stop and search on trial.
The UK government announced new plans to reform the use of stop and search powers by the police in August 2014.
We therefore need to start monitoring the government’s reforms and making a renewed case for greater police accountability as soon as possible. Unless we do, policy-makers may already have been persuaded in six months time that the misuse of stop and search has been ‘fixed’, when the reality on the streets is very different.
What we plan to do
We want to give local people the best opportunity to put stop and search on trial by:
• Providing rights information to young people across east London
• Supporting people to make police complaints with our assistance
• Monitoring the impact of the reforms on people’s experience of stop and search
NMP has one of the best track records in the UK in supporting people to make police complaints for unfair or racist treatment. In addition, if the system treats complainants unfairly, we are able to support people to expose these failings and campaign for greater justice.
How we will do it
Your donation will help fund the costs of a worker who will assist members of the public, especially young people, to make complaints if they are unhappy about the way they have been treated. The worker will also monitor the way the new stop and search reforms are rolled out over the next six months. Our target is a part time staff member, but the more we can raise, the more hours per week we can provide.
NMP will use its strong connections to youth groups across east London and a pool of dedicated volunteers to help spread the message at meetings and youth clubs.
Why are we crowdfunding?
Firstly, this project and the ongoing work of NMP is unique in that it both supports people directly, and builds campaigns from their experiences. Grants from trusts usually support either policy or advocacy work – securing funds for a project that combines both is far more difficult to achieve.
Secondly, east London’s diversity makes it an obvious area to monitor the impact of reforms intended to change the way the police use stop and search powers. However, it is difficult for a local organisation to secure funding for this kind of activity, even when it has a national significance.
Thirdly, the increased competition for mainstream funding mean that the more challenging campaign projects are viewed as a greater risk than services with less potentially controversial aims.
Update: We reached our original target of £7000 - can you help us reach our stretch target of £8,000?
Every penny you donate to us over our target of £7000 will help us to provide more in-depth support to people facing problems with police stop and search. Our original target will allow us to provide a part-time worker over 6 months for this project - with extra funds we can increase the hours this person works, resulting in:
• Greater outreach to more young people, giving them the support they need if they have suffered a bad experience during stop and search
• More workshops with young people to inform them of their rights
• Assisting more people to make complaints