The session, which was brokered between The Metropolitan Police’s Territorial Support Group, PCF’s Men’s Ministry and Hope in Tottenham was an opportunity to continue rebuilding community bridges between police and citizens.
Inspired by the words of Pastor Dave Daniels in December, the session was an opportunity to discuss the challenges faced by Black Officers, field questions from the community and see the alignment of values between the community and Police.
In a two hour session, TSG Veterans Adekele Are, Simon Barrell and Steve Samuels spoke with the Men’s Ministry on matters both personal and professional.
One major takeaway from the discussion was a distinction between the nature of the controversial Stop and Search vs the lesser known ‘Stop and Account’, with an open discussion on how the TSG and wider Metropolitan force employ the two tactics.
Currently, the TSG employs the use of ‘stop and accounts’ to become more familiar with the area, deter crime through presentation and reduce the number of ineffective and often ‘humiliating’ stop and search interactions. At present, a ‘stop and account’ is understood to be any interaction between the police and public where an officer asks what you are doing, your reasons for being in the area, your intended destination and what you might be in possession of. As the TSG explained, these questions allow officers to save time by only acting when necessary.
Nonetheless, the use of stop and search tactics is on ongoing issue and the event allowed frank questions put to the officers by one of the PCF Men’s Ministry members. Speaking about his own unpleasant personal experiences with the police in Tottenham, it once again raised the issue around the growing concerns people have around community policing.
This meant that the evening was an opportunity for officers to hear from the community and refocus efforts on considering ways that their service to diverse neighbourhoods such as Tottenham could be bettered.
This, alongside other truths and learning opportunities means that the session hosted by the Peoples Christian Fellowship puts into motion what all hope will be a long standing commitment. If possible, the programme will be an extension of the Men’s Ministry’s ten year commitment to encourage men to be more expressive and engaged within their communities.