StopWatch to flash mob centralÂ LondonÂ â€“ Saturday 17 March 2012 from
14.00 atÂ Trafalgar Square,Â Leicester Square andÂ OxfordÂ CircusÂ
Urban dancers dressed asÂ police officersÂ will perform in centralÂ LondonÂ this Saturday to raise awareness ofÂ police discriminationÂ whilst using controversialÂ stop and searchÂ powers.
StopWatch is particularly concerned about disproportionality in the use of stop and search. Black people are stopped and searched at up toÂ 7 timesÂ the rate of White people. Asian people are stoppedÂ 2.2 timesÂ the rate of White people.
The event marks 14 years since the beginning of the landmark â€˜Macphersonâ€™ public inquiry into the death of Stephen Lawrence onÂ 16 March 1998Â which famously declared the police force â€˜institutionally racistâ€™. The event also falls in the week of the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination observed annually on 21 March.
The flash mob is part of a larger StopWatchÂ campaign for better policingÂ made up ofÂ leading figures from civil society, the legal professions and academia and spanning over 40 organisations.Â Kam Gill, StopWatch member and research and policy analyst at the Runnymede TrustÂ commented:
â€œExcessive stop and search was shown to be a primary concern for minority communities after the Brixton riots of 1981 and the public inquiry into the death of Stephen Lawrence in 1998.
Yet excessive stop and search remains an issue that young Black and Minority Ethnic people have to contend with on a daily basis. We want to show the public that after all these years, stop and search still isnâ€™t fair, effective or accountable. â€
Stop Watch Youth Group member and flash mob organiserÂ says,
â€œThe StopWatch flash mob uses creative means to challenge disproportionate use of stop and search. It attempts to raise awareness in a way that is both critical and engaging. Considering most stop and searches happen in public places, a street dance flash mob is a great way to express our concerns.â€
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