Up Close and Personal – a new series of virtual events to foster growth and understanding

Compass and Breakthrough, Drive Forward Early Intervention programmes, launched a new online series this month called ‘Up Close and Personal’. Bringing care-experienced young people aged 13-18 and professionals with authority  in and around their lives together, the initiative aims to bust common myths that our young people may have about specific services and the people representing them.

On the one hand, the project intends to build and foster a better understanding of the services, looking behind the scenes and seeing the individual people behind the uniforms. On the other hand, we also want to open up new career opportunities for young people, showcasing the various roles, the highs and lows of the job as well as the different career routes into the sector.

Up Close with the Met Police

For our first event we were joined by five Met Police Officers, who successfully managed to keep their young audience engaged in lively debates, interesting discussions, and prompting important questions. The officers didn’t shy away from a tough and curious group of young people and provided some detailed and eye-opening answers. How often does misconduct get reported?  And are there systems in place to assist police officers when reporting misconduct within the force?

A particular hot topic among the young people is the practice of stop and search. They asked:

What is the actual procedure for stop and search and what are our rights if we ourselves are stopped?

The officers provided a well presented answer:

So, the stop and search process has its own standard operating procedure. We just call it SOP in the police. It outlines the actions that police officers need to take as well as the details of what info is required to be given to a person who is stopped and searched. We call those guidelines GO WISELY:

  • G – grounds to stop (some information whether it’s from another officer or intelligence) which we have to communicate to the member of the public;
  • O – we need to explain what the object that we are looking for is (a knife for example or drugs);
  • W – our warrant number which we need to give out;
  • I –  identify yourself by name and proof as a police officer;
  • S –  name the station you are attached to;
  • E – means entitlement to a copy of a search note available either at the time of stop or to collect from any station within 3 months;
  • L – legislation which we used to stop and;
  • Y – you are detained wording (we need to tell the person that they have been detained for the purpose of the search)

YOUR RIGHTS – you don’t have to tell us your name and address but it’s a good practice to do so. You are being recorded on a CAMERA and you can ask the officer to put the camera ON if it’s off  – this is to protect both you and the officer. You have the right to get a copy of the search as detailed above.

Up Close with public servants

To our second Up Close and Personal event we invited three public servants: a nurse, a teacher and a council worker. The session was  very well attended and our young people really enjoyed having the opportunity to have an open, honest and judgement free conversation. Our guests took the necessary time and made a real effort to communicate the challenges as well as rewards of their respective roles. Young participants were able to gain a real understanding of what a career within the education system, the NHS, or local authority involves.

We had some lovely pieces of feedback from or young people ranging from ‘It was a please to attend’ to ‘I got to learn so much, thank you.’

Thank you so much to Enfield & Haringey Metropolitan Police Service, Imogen Stevenson, Marjorie Lee, Adom Fitton and St John Ambulance.

Stacey-Leigh Dolan

Youth Programme Manager

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