Y-STOP have developed a new app to make it easier for people to complain about stop and search. Aimed at young people, it allows anyone who has been treated badly by the police or thinks something unlawful happened to report their experience directly from the app.
The Y-Stop app lets users:
- Report their stop and search experiences or ones they witness
- Record video/audio of the police interactions and send it to Y-Stop
- Connect with lawyers and experts for support
- Make a complaint directly to police
- Know what their rights are
Y-Stop also provides a YouTube tutorial on how to use the app:
The aim of Y-Stop is to give young people the tools to interact with the police safely, equipping them with the skills and knowledge needed to handle a stop and search.
Instead of giving too much information about the law and the police, it focuses on really practical information and tips to help young people manage what is often a confusing and stressful encounter, ending it as quickly, confidently and smoothly as possible. Y-STOP calls this a harm reduction approach.
Y-Stop is a collaboration between charities, lawyers, young people, youth workers, community and media organisations and is run by Release in partnership with StopWatch. It started in 2013 and is based on an extensive consultation exercise with young people who described stop and search as a disempowering, frightening and frustrating experience. Young people said that Sop and Search has a serious impact on communities, creating a complete lack of trust and confidence in the police, as a result of the suspicion, neglect and prejudice often experienced.
When you open the app, you are met with a screen which gives you the option to lock your phone when recording a stop and search encounter.
You are encouraged to log full details of a stop and search; including marking exactly where the stop took place and entering the key information of the stop, most of which should be recorded by the police officer on the form they give the stopped person.
When you have completed the report, you can choose whether to submit it only to Y-STOP (which is able to analyse the data from many different stops) or to Y-STOP and the police if you wish to submit a complaint about the way you were treated.
The app worked first time on my phone without any difficulties and the reporting app seemed straightforward to me, although I obviously wan’t using the app in a real-time situation.
We have now come to an intriguing time in police scrutiny where police officers wearing body cameras may be taking videos of a stop and search while the person stopped is, in turn, videoing the officer’s actions.
Research seems to show that increased transparency improves behaviour on all sides.
You can get the app below:
Get the Y-Stop app for Android here
Get the Y-Stop app for iOS here
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