They saw I was a law student and let me go


Among the most intimidating encounters I have had with the police was when I was stopped and searched late one night outside Manor House station in North London. I had just moved to the area and I was in law school at the time whilst also working at a pub in Camden. I had finished law school in the day and gone straight to work in the evening.

Finishing work, I returned to Manor House station and had just exited the station when I was stopped by two police officers who approached me suddenly, blocking my path as I was walking down Seven Sisters Road. I was told by one officer that they wanted to have a chat with me. As I was talking to that officer, asking why they needed to speak to me, the other one stepped very close to me, invading my personal space and making sure I felt suitably threatened. They told me that they were looking for someone of my description and asked me who I was and where I was coming from. I told them that I was on my way home from work, that I lived in the area and that I worked in a pub that is why I was coming home so late. The police then asked me to search my bag, which I allowed again because I thought I had to. My bag was full of law books from class earlier that day which confused the police. I had to explain to them that I was also a law student and show them my student card as proof. Their questioning was aggressive but after I had shown them that, the officers were anxious to finish the search and let me go. I was unaware of my rights at the time regarding stop and search so did not ask for receipt or get the details of the officers.

The whole experience left me feeling victimised. I wish I had known then what I know now about stop and search as I would have dealt with that encounter in a completely different manner.

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