Bristol:No one from Somali community attends police bid..
Mareeg.com– Somali community UKPOLICE officers attended an Easton neighbourhood forum meeting to explain their powers to stop and search – but no-one from the Somali community attended.There have been recent reports of tensions between police and the local Somali community – especially after an incident at Stapleton Road’s Star Cafe.Police apologised after officers demanded to see identification from everyone in the cafe while they searched for a suspect.Somali-born Labour city councillor Hibaq Jama, who represents the Lawrence Hill ward, told the Bristol Post she was concerned about rising tension.But at the Easton and Lawrence Hill Neighbourhood Forum meeting held at Easton Primary School last night neither she, nor other members of the Somali community, were among the 35-strong audience. The Post understands that the meeting clashed with another meeting being held within the Somali community, involving police and councillors, during the evening.PC Tom Gent, beat officer for Easton, and PC Farzana Risdale, beat officer for Lawrence Hill, attended the forum to explain stop and search powers of the police because they understood it was “quite a hot topic at the moment”.PC Gent said he wanted to explain how and why police used the power, and the way in which they should do it. People attending the meeting then had a chance to ask questions, although none were members of the Somali community.One man in the audience asked if officers had targets they had to reach in terms of how many people they stopped and searched. PC Gent said they did not and assured the forum that this would never be a reason to use the power.The man also said that some young people in the area felt they were constantly being “picked on” by the same police officers and asked how they should behave.PC Gent replied that it was important young people knew their rights in relation to the power and said he would soon be attending a school to give advice.Another man asked why officers could not spend more time giving fixed penalty notices to cars parked illegally at night, rather than stopping and searching young people.PC Gent replied that often the reason for a stop and search could be very serious, and could include drugs, weapons or even terrorism, although this was extremely rare.He said he believed knife and gun crime in Easton had been greatly reduced in recent years, partly because of stop and search powers.Source: Bristol Post