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Young Bristol creatives produce emotive film on Stop and Search rights with help of some funding from PCC’s Office

An image of several people at a premier

Creative Power Town CIC (a Community Interest Company based in St Paul’s), owned and led by Chief Executive Omari Cato, has supported young people from the area to produce a film to inform and empower other young people, to feel confident about their rights if they are ever stopped and searched by the police.

The innovative Unjust Stop project was done in partnership with Avon and Somerset Police, led by Chief Inspector Vicks Hayward-Melen who is the local police commander in Bristol East, and funded by the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner to help increase confidence levels in the police across Black communities, who currently report much lower levels of trust in the police than people from other ethnic backgrounds report.

Avon and Somerset Police next week mark a year since publicly acknowledging institutional racism within their police service. The Unjust Stop film was developed as part of their Race Matters work, which aims specifically to increase confidence and trust in policing with Black and ethnically / racially minoritised communities, to address issues of institutional racism and racial disproportionality which is a key issue in the use of stop and search powers. Black people in Avon and Somerset are almost six times more likely to be stopped and searched by the police than their white counterparts. It also follows the recent Avon and Somerset Police internal launch of a new policy for police officers to follow when they’re conducting stop and searches.

Police and Crime Commissioner Clare Moody said, “I’m pleased my office was able to support the development of such an important film.

“Across Avon and Somerset, you are still almost six times more likely to be stopped and searched if you’re from a Black ethnic background than from a white background. Our Independent Scrutiny of Police Powers Panel regularly review stop searches through watching body-worn video footage, and some of the feedback they give shows there is a need for the new stop and search policy Avon and Somerset Police is implementing.

“I attended the premier of this film and it’s an emotive and powerful watch – it gives a young person’s perspective on the impact and trauma that a stop and search can have through watching young people in a group counselling session, having flashbacks as the counsellor talks to them.

“This film both shares information with young people about how stop and search should work and importantly involved them in the making of the film, opening up experiences and opportunities in the creative industry.

“I hope it reaches many young people across Avon and Somerset and helps them to feel confident and empowered to understand what their rights are in a stop and search situation.”

Chief Executive of CPT Omari Cato said, “At Creative Power Town, we believe in the boundless potential of young people. Our latest short film, ‘Unjust Stop,’ created by our Young CPT addresses the critical issue of disproportionate stop and search practices, giving a voice to those who are often unheard. By providing a platform for young people to showcase their talents and aspirations, we aim to foster resilience and hope.

“We are committed to creating opportunities that empower youth from disadvantaged backgrounds, steering them towards successful careers and away from the dangers of exploitation.

“Together, we can build a brighter future for our young generation. Help us empower at risk young people, steering them away from the endemic dangers of exploitation and violence and into joy and success.”

The film is seven minutes long and will be promoted through social media and a partnership with Representation Matters, to reach children in local schools.

You can watch the film, as well as other emotive and important short films created by the young people involved, on Creative Power Town’s YouTube channel:

Find out more about the multi-agency work to address racial disproportionality throughout the criminal justice system here

Information about Avon and Somerset Police’s ongoing Race matters work to address their institutional racism is on their website here Race Matters | Avon and Somerset Police