Young Black men suffer under police ‘paranoia’

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Hackney Central stop and search site.

A resident has spoken out against police bias after he was stopped and searched on his way home last week.

Joel Francis said he was walking home with a friend on the evening of 7 October when he was stopped and searched by police outside Hackney Central Station. His friend, who is white, was not.

Joel, a teaching assistant, said: “They are inherently suspicious of anyone that doesn’t fit in with the white middle-class stereotype, and it’s a sad fact that young black men suffer the most for their paranoia.”

Black Britons are over eight times more likely to be stopped and searched by police than white Britons, a new study by the London School of Economics has found.

Francis said that he understands the use of stop and search on those who look suspicious, but says the blatant disregard of his white friend was incredibly unjust.

“With such a disparity between the two groups, young black kids can be seen as a threat for hanging out on street corners in the area they grew up,” Francis said, noting that the wider community shares his concern and hopes it will soon be addressed.

According to the 2011 census, black people comprise over a quarter of Hackney’s population, and stop and search has become a major flashpoint in the area. One resident, Martin Britton, described the policy as “thinly veiled institutional racism”.