19. Memorandum submitted by
Flipside is the operating name of Lambeth Crime
Prevention Trust which is a registered charity that works with
young people mainly in the London Borough of Lambeth.
This evidence is submitted on behalf of four
of the young black people who are currently working on one of
our projects based in the Coldharbour Ward. This ward is a significant
crime hotspot and is recognised as having a very high level of
They looked at the following areas: Youths,
Peer Pressure, Upbringing, Attitude, Police, Role Models and Way
One of the problems is that young males have
nothing to do so they hang around together, then by default form
The need to have a community centre/drop-in
centre where they can "chill" with supervision. The
group identify an "age thing" (16-17 years) which is
to be on the road doing "their own thing". As they get
older these young people realise they can't do this forever so
they find work somewhere like Sainsbury's or they turn to thieving
Another problem that they identified was the
wearing of hoods by young people, known in the media as "hoodies".
The perception they feel young people have is that wearing a hood
means that one will be automatically stopped by the police.
They all agreed that if a young person is not
mentally strong s/he will be influenced by others. If s/he can't
handle being on the road because s/he is not designed for life
on the road s/he will get caught. (By being designed for life
on the road they meant a young person who has from an early age
been involved in an anti-social/ criminal way of life). They acknowledged
that the weaker/ younger ones will be targeted and bullied and
that some of them will be drawn into trouble. They also acknowledged
that a young person needs to have the skill not to be involved
in an anti-social/criminal way of life but have the ability "to
roll" (to be accepted) with those on the street.
The group identified positive upbringing as
being very important. All of them had strict parents which they
felt had not done them any harm and all have good relationships
with their mothers. They identified that working class parents
work long hours resulting in children being left at home alone.
The parents often have problems because they cannot come home
and discipline their child/children immediately for misbehaving,
are unaware of it, or are too tired to do anything about it. They
felt very strongly that children must not control the parents.
They pointed out that a young person's parents/teachers are very
influential on him/her. One of the group said that once she found
that one of her teachers believed in her ability, she believed
The group felt that the young people and the
police/criminal justice system suffer from a lack of knowledge
about each other, this leads to misunderstanding. Some of the
group felt that neither side wants to understand each other, which
means that they both have a distorted perception of each other.
In the system some of the group felt that young black people are
treated different to their white counterparts. They also felt
that racism is as apparent as it was during the Brixton riots,
black people are still being treated the same. However, they noted
that at social events sometimes black people kick off and contribute
to a negative image of young black people.
Generally it was felt that the police hassle
the wrong people. A young black person needs to know how to handle
the police, how to talk to them without swearing at them. He/she
needs to know his/her rights.
In Brixton the group felt that the police are
not dealing with the drug dealers in the centre where older dealers
are selling drugs blatantly on the streets.
They felt that police use more pressure on young
people than on gunmen who are driving around and Yardies dealing
on the streets.
Finally they felt that if you make a complaint
(properly) against a police officer that it gets nowhere as they
(the police) all support each other.
Role models are important but they don't have
to be famous people. One of the group identified her mum as her
role model. Another identified Jay-Z but only for his MCing, the
group felt that sometimes stars are unrealistic role models. A
community member could be a role model.
Setting personal goals was seen as being very
important and then working towards them.
They acknowledged that working can be difficult
if you are a teenage mum over 18 years because child care is expensive
and it is very hard to get out of the benefits trap.
They identified that people physically have
to do something to stand up to the guns/gangsit is not
enough to talk all the time as the streets are been taken over,
people need to stand up against them. They noted that many white
people march for black youngsters killed by guns. They felt by
nature black people are not good at protesting/marching. They
also realised that people are not involved on the estates because
they are scared to be involved because of retaliation.
They felt that ensuring the following would
help alleviate some of the levels of misunderstanding on both
(i) That young black people should know their
rights so that they can handle the police better thus helping
their relationship with the police.
(ii) That there should be mandatory awareness
training for all practitioners in the criminal justice system
which covers cultural and social deprivation issues for young