I remember being part of the pilot session… I was 15 at the time and to be honest all we wanted to do was to have our weekly table tennis competition.
The police turned up in two vans. There were at least 9 of them for that first session.Everyone seemed uneasy with their presence, looked more like a raid to be honest. They came with their plain clothes. The session was not how I imagined, Janette project manger for The crib had to stimulate the discussion because she could sense that none of us wanted to talk to the police. Eventually after a few games that broke the ice, we started discussing issues that affect us, this was our chance to get our voice heard and if anything would happen after this was yet to be seen. We spoke about police tactics, stop and search, profiling, stereotypes, legal rights, and the justice system. It was very interesting talking about all these things and seeing thing from a different perspective. It was all done in a respectful manner as everyone had equal say.
This was then followed by role reversal role playing between us and the police. An example of a scenario we had to do was that a group of young people were hanging around on the stairwell in block on the estate, a concerned resident calls the police to come and move them along because of the noise and what looks like fighting. So now we have the scenario, we now had to act as the police who turned up to deal with the situation, and the police were acting as the young people who were only play fighting with each other and having a laugh.
A Trading Places session – youth and police – pic from Emeka Egbuonu.
As the police officers we started off with the nice approach, but the police officers acting as young people did not go easy on us, they made it extremely difficult to resolve the situation. I think they have vast experience dealing with scurrilous youth because they were doing a good job. Eventually we had to use force and make them move along.
The second day was really interesting because the police now had to come in with their full uniform and the dynamics of the session changed. There was a sense of animosity between us and the police, even though it was with the same officers from the day before Continue reading →
These two faces of London are both trying their best to make the city and the people therein more grounded, more aware and more connected with each other – for which I salute both Christopher West and Emeka Egbuonu.
1. Christopher West brings London’ s history back to life in the persona of Charles Dickens – or perhaps it’s the great man’s ghost. I’ve seen this ghost in action and he’s a lively recreation. And topical given that it would have been Charles Dickens’s 200th birthday today (7th February). The Charles Dickens London blog is here. You can invite him to give a talk – in character and Dickensian outfit – at your gathering. For a sample – check out his appearance in this Voice of America news report by correspondent Dominic Laurie.
My favourite Dickens character? The villain Pecksniff from Martin Chuzzlewit. From Pecksniff we derive Pecksniffian – sanctimonious, hypocritical. (Do you have a favourite – good-hearted or malign?)
And what’s your Dickensian name? To find out take a first name from a great grandparent and add on the name or street name of your primary school (but leave out the “Saint” part to allow variety). Which makes me something along the lines of Charlie Derryvolgie – which has a good ring to it, I think.
2. Emeka Egbuonu arrived in east London from Nigeria aged seven, and survived the blows and temptations of teenage violence, to become an anti-gang intervention worker. He runs a scheme called Consequences – Breaking the Negative Cycle which aims to awaken young people to the alternative possibilities their lives can offer once they take responsibility for their actions. Continue reading →
Standing up for what’s right costs. The question is whether or not you are willing to pay the price.
What we have learned from people’s reactions to the wave of rioting, looting and burning hitting UK cities over the past few days and nights, is that some heroic individuals are willing pay that sometimes very high price Continue reading →
Burning, looting, shooting, rioting, robbing – you can find pictures of all that happening in London and elsewhere in the UK on the TV news or elsewhere on the internet. No need for it here too.
Instead, I have a couple of stories of bravery and people trying to make things better amidst the violence. I’m sure there are many – but here are just a few.
Try not to be put off by the subtitles below…
The woman in this video is apparently on the streets of Hackney in London. The original police shooting and subsequent arson and rioting began in the Tottenham area. Hackney is one of the areas to which the trouble has spread.
There has been lots of condemnation of the violence from TV and radio studios and the pages of newspapers. This woman is out on the streets face-to-face with the people involved. So that’s brave Continue reading →
Blackwatertown - the blog & the book - are by Paul Waters. (So is The Obituarist.) I present a podcast & radio show called We'd Like A Word with Stevyn Colgan. It's about books, authors, publishers, readers, editors, agents, illustrators, poets, script writers & lyricists. The podcast is at https://anchor.fm/wed-like-a-word or wherever you get your podcasts. And the website is www.wedlikeaword.com or on social media @wedlikeaword
I also make other radio, TV & podcasts. Leave a comment or email me at paulwaters99 at hotmail.com Thanks for reading. Paul