If people think you’re always committing crime you may as well do it

Tashan Wilkin, 24 years old

The first time when I was first getting stopped and searched I wasn’t on the road I wasn’t even getting into trouble at all back then. I was 13 and it was the Keyham Lane police force in East Midlands. I was with group of mates, just a few of us, we were playing football round the corner from my mate’s house. Police cars came up they said they wanted to stop and search us. They grabbed us up, searched us, asked us if they wanted a P1 slip, and I said yep, but I said I also wanted their name and number. I couldn’t understand why we were getting grabbed, as we were just playing football. They didn’t tell me what it was for, I hadn’t done something, they gave me a slip and I asked for the officer’s name and number and he wrote on the slip something like ‘PC Mr N***a man’. I took the slip to my mum in the house and showed her and realized that he had just wrote that down instead of writing his name and badge number. We decided not to complain because nothing would come of it. In my eyes they didn’t have a reason for it. My mum always said if you ever get stopped by the police you should be educated on your rights, she wanted to get our P1 slips and get us to ask their name and badge. My little brother used to always get in trouble with the police.

Then I started getting involved in crime, getting cautions, etc, I used to get stopped a lot.  In total I’d guess I was stopped and searched about 50 or 60 times between the ages of 13 and 19 – I got stopped more when I was between 17 and 18. At one point I was stopped every day in Leicester – I was out a lot, mixing with a bad crowd of people, if I was out and with them I would get stopped, and then even if I was not with him I would get stopped.

When I was stopped and searched, half the time there wasn’t a reason, it made me think I may as well commit crime, when people think you’re always committing crime it makes you just think you may as well do it.  If you’re always getting stopped when you’re not doing anything it makes you think you might as well be doing stuff. They would say I half match the description. Half matching the description is not good enough. When I was younger I didn’t think about complaining. As you get older you know where you can complain.

When I got arrested and charged it was circumstantial – I wasn’t really known by the police. I would still get stopped.  Eg a black boy and a white girl rob people somewhere far from my house and I was in my house, they grabbed me, kicked my phone out of my hand, I kicked off and got angry. I don’t like it. I normally get aggressive, kick off, shouting “I’m not who you are looking for.” As I get older I realised that you just have to keep quiet and get it done quicker.

The long-term impact on me? For me the police force is there, I understand why they do their job, but personally I don’t like the way they go about it, although I get they have a duty to protect people. For me I could have dealt with the situation totally differently. I decide let me do what I think is right. I could have died when I nearly got kidnapped and they couldn’t protect me. I do understand their job but I don’t like the methods they use.

fitting a description
confidence in police

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