'Enough is enough': Youth worker criticises Met Police stop and search during lockdown

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A London youth worker who says he was unfairly targeted has criticised the use of stop and search by police during lockdown.

Sayce Holmes-Lewis was pulled over in south London while driving to take food to a bereaved friend. Police suspected he was carrying drugs.

"They stopped me after 45 seconds of seeing me based on my behaviour. I'm not sure what that means but it's stereotyping and racial profiling. It's happened to me so many times and enough is enough," said Sayce.

He added the way police acted was "overzealous" and they should be held to account for their actions.

I'm happy to cooperate, I understand there's an issue, I understand there are drug deals going on. However when you've got people such as me working to help police and to prevent crime and anti-social behaviour and serious youth violence and you're being victimised by someone else's judgement - that's all it is.

Sayce Holmes-Lewis, youth worker

ITV News London also spoke to teacher Dwayne Francis who says he was handcuffed on the way to work.

They quickly demanded that I step out the car - I showed them my ID badge and what I do as a professional. I was detained with no prior warning under the Drugs Act. It was disheartening but I had to reassure myself and remain calm and professional in my conduct.

Dwayne Francis, teacher

Latest figures reveal that:

  • In April 2019 police carried out 20,981 stop and searches

  • In April 2020 there were 30,608 stop and searches

  • That's an increase of 45%

  • 2.3 white people per 1000 were stopped last month

  • 9.3 black people per 1000 were stopped last month

  • That means black people were four times more likely to get stopped

We understand there are some concerns across some communities that the use of the stop and search tactic during the Covid-19 lockdown has been deliberately aimed at certain groups. We would like to reassure communities that this is absolutely not the case. However, our use of stop and search over recent weeks has increased as additional resources have been places into proactive patrols to keep London safe.

Met Police statement

Sayce and Dwayne said police needed to understand the communities they're dealing with and communicate better.

Police said no drugs were found in either Sayce or Dwayne's cars and both men said they would make an official complaint.

Former Harrow Borough Commander Del Babu and former Met Police Superintendent Leroy Logan spoke to Lucrezia Millarini about the controversial use of stop and search.