Study by Islington students delves into lack of trust between police and young people

City and Islington College in Holloway Road

City and Islington College in Holloway Road - Credit: Archant

Islington college students teamed up with university researchers to study the trust issues between young people and the police.

City and Islington College created a report with University College London (UCL) and Citizens UK by interviewing 20 police officers and young people aged 16 and 25 in London.

There was a consensus that trust issues between law enforcement and the community are rooted in interactions with young people, including stop and search.

The study also revealed young people were unaware of the Met Police’s community engagement and the officers unaware of the extent of concern about racial bias.

It also noted young people were willing to get involved in projects to improve trust.

Boz Arslan, vice-president of the college’s Student Union, said: “I think it’s important not only because young people can get an understanding of the police, but also it helps them release some anger and understand that anger.”

In January, the Gazette revealed stop and search disproportionately affects Black men in Islington – often with no further action taken.

READ MORE: Met Police criticised as stats show stop and searches disproportionately affect black men in Islington

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Student engagement coordinator at the college Sinead Morgan said given the statistics about stop and search and the BAME community, it is “important that these channels of communication between BAME students, the UCL researchers and the police are open”.

The study was led by UCL’s Dr Artemis Skarlatidou and Lina Ludwighe,

Dr Skarlatidou, senior research associate, said: “What was striking was the depth of knowledge of young people about police enforcement methods, but little to no knowledge of the police’s non-enforcement methods of policing, including community outreach.

“This is despite a willingness of young people to participate.

“Although there is a lack of trust, we can see ways to re-establish trust in policing.”

Citizens UK is a charity which aims to organise communities for social justice.

Froi Legaspi, community organiser at Citizens UK, said: “With the Black Lives Matter movement continuing unabated, now is the opportunity for policy makers to work with communities on improved trust through better police training and accountability mechanisms.”