A teenager from Southall has made a film advising young people what to do if they are stopped and searched by the police.
Naman Kadam, 17, who studies at Langley College, was confused and frightened when he was stopped by two officers and made matters worse by trying to run away.
He said: “I was walking home from the local shop when I was approached by two police officers who wanted to search me. At the time I was confused as English isn’t my first language. I panicked and tried to run. I shouldn’t have run as this only made things worse – I should have kept calm.
“Instead I looked more suspicious. I had no idea police can use reasonable force when they stop and search you but they should only use force as a last resort.”
Now Naman is keen to tell other youngsters what they should do if the police stop them. He has been working with Fixers, a lottery funded charity which gives young people aged 16 to 25 a voice, and has made a two-minute film explaining the stop and search policy.
Police have powers to stop and search anyone who they have reasonable grounds to suspect is carrying illegal drugs, a weapon, stolen property, or something which could be used to commit a crime. While officers can ask you what a suspect is doing, why they are in an area or where they are going, citizens can refuse to answer.
Naman made a short YouTube film to reassure his peers and hopes to launch it officially at Slough Aspire to an audience of teachers, police, decision-makers, parents and young people.
He added: “If you are aggressive to police officers it could just mean more trouble. I hope the film teaches young people how to deal with the situation correctly. It can be embarrassing and stressful, but if you act aggressively it can get worse. Just stay calm.”
The Fixers charity provides young people with resources to campaign on issues they feel strongly about, by creating a short film as Naman did, or a website, poster campaign or information leaflet, or they could hold an event or flashmob. The charity has helped more than 17,000 young people so far.
For more information see www.fixers.org.uk