Medium and message: Crime Concern

A Crime Concern project has created a docu-drama to quash stereotypes of young people and police officers.

When a survey by Crime Concern's Barnet Action 4 Youth project revealed that 86 per cent of young people thought the police had a negative attitude towards them, and 61 per cent of police agreed, members of the project wanted to do something about it.

"The young people wanted to create something that would reach a wide audience and could really help to improve relations," says project manager Alison Kira. "They were aware that both sides needed to change."

Group members aged between 13 and 17 were inspired to produce a docu-drama to break down negative stereotypes. They carried out interviews with other teenagers, youth workers, police officers and inmates at the local Woodhill Prison.

They also re-enacted a stop-and-search scenario based on real-life events, in which a young person is stopped and ends up being arrested following an altercation with a police officer.

The DVD has been sent to all 250 secondary schools in Barnet, north London, and the charity is negotiating with police about using it as a training video for new recruits to the force.

An accompanying poster continues the theme of breaking down stereotypes.

"The young people wanted a strong image that would get the message across in a powerful way," Kira says. "We have already had fantastic feedback from the police, who liked the fact that it deals with the stereotypes on both sides."

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