Adam Deacon: Can we trust the police?
Award winning actor carries DVD of himself as proof he is not a criminal
The BAFTA winning actor Adam Deacon recently revealed that as a result of being searched by the police so many times, he carries a copy of his DVD with him as proof that he is not a criminal. Deacon, who has starred in various films which include Kidulthood and Anuvahood has decided to get involved in a documentary about police harassment as a result of his own negative experience with the police force.
Despite the efforts of the Macpherson report in 1999 that revealed the police force was “institutionally racist”, Deacon believes that racism in the police force still persists. The relationship between ethnic minority communities and the police has always been tense. This animosity stems from the discrimination that ethnic minority’s experience particularly through racial profiling in the latter half of the 20th century up until today. Police powers of stop and search have been a particular issue. Statistics show that Black people are seven times more likely to be stopped and searched than white people and Asian males are twice as much as white people.
The negative stereotypes associated with some minority groups have been a barrier to progress, and have led to this selective policing. In turn this has led to a breakdown in the relationship between minority communities and the police. It also explains the deep rooted resentment towards the police in many ethnic minority communities.
The Equality and Human Rights Commission confirms many of these concerns and cites a study that claims
“the police contribute to the large ethnic differences in the PACE data by virtue of their heightened suspiciousness of Black people. This is pervasive and deeply entrenched; and it may significantly increase the chances of Black people coming to the attention of the police relative to other groups.”
Deacon recounts a story about his friend, David Nwokoye, who was “thrown to the ground, kicked and stamped on, then tasered by the police” in 2005. After the incident it was revealed as a case of mistaken identity and Nwokoye received compensation, but the police refused to take responsibility for their actions.
The actor, director, writer and rapper who regularly expresses the experience of young people growing up in urban areas, through his work and in appearances on Young Voter’s Question Time last and Free Speech hopes that the documentary will be a positive tool. Although these issues persist there is a glimmer of hope and Deacon believes that since the summer riots in 2011, “slowly, the police are building trust with communities.” With the documentary, he aims to speak to victims of police brutality and the police themselves, allowing viewers to understand both sides of the argument.
Tune in to watch the documentary: Can we trust the police? June 25 at 9pm on BBC3