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Youth Worker Says He's Been Stopped 300 Times By Police Since He Was A Boy

Youth Worker Says He's Been Stopped 300 Times By Police Since He Was A Boy

A youth worker says he has been stopped 300 times by police despite not having a criminal record.

Nathaniel James, from Birmingham, says he will always remember being ordered to take off his shoes and socks during a stop and search as a young boy.

Speaking about his experiences, the 33-year-old said he believes he was targeted due to the colour of his skin.

The youth worker told Birmingham Live: "I'd say altogether in my lifetime I've been stopped and searched probably about 100 times without exaggerating.

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"I've been on the receiving end of a stop and account probably over 200 times easily."

Nathaniel now works as a Stop and Search Youth Trainer and teaches young people how to interact with police when they are stopped.

Nathaniel says he has been stopped 300 times by police. Credit: BPM Media
Nathaniel says he has been stopped 300 times by police. Credit: BPM Media

Looking back at the very first time he was stopped by cops, he said: "They put me in the back of the riot van. They told me to take my trainers off. They were searching my trainers and socks. This was a traumatic time.

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"When I was about 12 I felt like I was targeted by the police. I would get stopped and searched three, even four times a day."

In the end, Nathaniel's mother decided to complain to the police for their treatment of her son.

Nathaniel went on: "Every time you get stopped and searched regardless if they tell you to go down to the station you need to get a yellow slip. I basically had that many yellow slips, there was a drawer full of them.

"My mom said enough is enough. We took all those yellow slips and went down to the police station and demanded to speak to someone higher up because she felt her son was being targeted."

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But while he says his mum's complaint did help, he feels police still continued to target him.

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He said: "I had no criminal record. I was a good lad. To be stopped and searched that many times, it used to get me frustrated. I'd feel like they were pinpointing me."

Nathaniel now works with the police and uses his own experiences to help support and encourage young people.

But while he still feels the system is unfair and continues to be stopped by officers, Nathaniel has not been deterred in his efforts to see the system changed.

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He said: "If it takes the police to search 50 people and one knife comes off the street it is a good thing. I wouldn't say it's fair."

The youth worker was first stopped when he was just 11 years old. Credit: BPM Media
The youth worker was first stopped when he was just 11 years old. Credit: BPM Media

A spokesperson for West Midlands Police said: "Stop and search is a powerful tool in our fight against crime.

"We're constantly reviewing how we use these powers to ensure they are fair and proportionate. The data, including a breakdown of ethnicity, is regularly published in reports to the Police and Crime Commissioner and this is regularly scrutinised by community-led panels.

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"Our officers carried out 11,064 stop and searches between 1 January and 30 May this year.

"In just over a quarter of all stops (26.9 percent) there was what's considered a 'positive' outcome, including 1,512 arrests and 266 knife recoveries.

"We continue to work hard to secure the public's trust on this sensitive issue and will continue to seek new ways to make these powers even more transparent and ensure they are used fairly and proportionally with all communities."

Featured Image Credit: BPM Media

Topics: Police, Birmingham

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Dominic Smithers

Dominic graduated from the University of Leeds with a degree in French and History. Like you, Dom has often questioned how much use a second language has been. Well, after stints working at the Manchester Evening News, the Accrington Observer and the Macclesfield Express, along with never setting foot in France, he realised the answer is surprisingly little. But I guess, c'est la vie. Contact us at [email protected]