A restaurateur and former British soldier has accused police of racially profiling him after being stopped more than forty times in 10 years.
Father-of-two Phil Powell, who served twice with the army in Afghanistan, says he is ‘constantly’ stopped and searched by police in Ceredigion, Wales.
He says he has been pulled over eight times in the last two years by officers who breathalyse him and check his tyres and insurance.
The 41 year-old claims he is repeatedly pulled over because he is black and has even accused officers of assaulting him.
Mr Powell, who owns a Caribbean restaurant, estimates he has been pulled over by Dyfed-Powys Police more than 40 times in the years he has lived in Aberaeron.
Father-of-two Phil Powell, who served twice with the army in Afghanistan, says he is ‘constantly’ stopped by police in what he says is racial profiling
Mr Powell, who owns a Caribbean restaurant, estimates he has been pulled over by police more than 40 times in the years he has lived in Aberaeron
He says he has lost count of how often it happens and has been forced into speaking out because he cannot contain his ‘fury and frustration’ any longer.
The businessman – who has owned Mama Fay’s restaurant in Portland Road for eight years – says he has been physically assaulted and embarrassed by police officers.
His most serious allegations are that he was once ‘kneed’ by a copper and police terrorised him in front of his wife and children at his home in Aberaeron.
He claims officers often wait for him and then tail him when he leaves his restaurant, and he claims an officer ‘kneed him’ and confiscated his keys in Llanrhystud.
Mr Powell has recorded videos of several of the incidents, which appear to back up some of the claims.
He says he was last pulled over on Saturday January 21.
Mr Powell has complained four times through the Independent Office for Police Conduct website about the treatment he has received from Dyfed-Powys Police.
But he says no action has yet been taken. Complaints have also been made to the region’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Dafydd Llywelyn.
Black people are more than eight times as likely to be stopped and searched by Dyfed-Powys Police than white people in the force area, data shows.
Mr Powell told the Cambrian News: ‘I’m 100 per cent sure it’s racial profiling.
Mr Powell says he is ‘100 per cent sure’ he has been stopped because of racial profiling by police
‘Now it’s reached a point when, if I’m stopped, I’m just so angry I can’t help but let out my frustration. I’ve been stopped so many times it’s hard to keep track.
‘I’ve complained and tried everything to make it stop. I’ll give you an indication – in the past two years, I’ve been stopped at least eight times. I’m not joking.
‘The police officers know who I am but they’re still hassling me all the time.
‘As usual they breathalyse me, they check my tyres, they check my insurance – they’re constantly doing these things all the time.
‘I’m not one to accuse people of things but these are racist police officers. Why else would they be waiting and following me?
‘I’ve never been in any trouble, I don’t smoke or do drugs, I’m ex-service personnel.
‘I’m a respected business owner in the Aberystwyth community and I employ a lot of local people – and people know me in Aberaeron.’
He says he is aware of other non-white friends of his and fellow business owners in Aberystwyth who are also allegedly targeted by police.
Mr Powell, who is of Jamaican origin and previously lived in Birmingham, says he has no record of any criminality apart from three points on his license for one speeding offence in 2017.
But he objects to the ‘staggering frequency’ at which he is stopped under suspicion of speeding and drink driving only to have been penalised once.
The restaurant owner even claimed a police officer assaulted him on one occasion when he was stopped
Mr Powell alleges on 12 May 2020, during the height of lockdown rules, he was assaulted by a police officer when he was driving back home from Birmingham via Aberystwyth.
He claims the officer ‘kneed him’ and confiscated the keys from his van when he stopped and searched him near the Texaco garage in Llanrhystud.
‘I was driving into Llanrhystud and the officer switched on his lights near the bus stop,’ he said.
‘I’m always conscious of where I pull over when the police stop me. I won’t stop anywhere dark for my own safety.
‘The officer came storming out and asked me why I didn’t pull over immediately. I was perfectly calm but he was in a rage.
‘This guy was trying to provoke me and suggested there were reports about a white van in the area that’s been suspicious or some nonsense.
‘Before I could produce my license and registration this guy pulled open my door and grabbed my key out – and kneed me while he pushed past.’
Mr Powell added: ‘I know when I’m being pulled over because I’ve been racially profiled – believe me, I know the difference.
‘When a police officer comes up to you and instantly has an angry look on his face like he wants to fight, you’ll understand what I’m saying.’
He added: ‘This isn’t about me. It’s about young black kids. There is a psychological trauma for them to deal with.
‘I’ve dealt with lots of experiences of racism in my life so I’m a bit more emotionally hardened – which I shouldn’t be.
‘But I’ve had young black kids working here before who always have a story about the police, getting searched and hassled. It needs to stop.’
Mr Powell said he has never had any trouble with racism in the Ceredigion community, which he loves dearly – only from police officers, he says.
Responding to the claims made, a spokesperson for Dyfed-Powys Police said: ‘We are aware of the complainant’s concerns having received his complaint via the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) in May 2020.
‘His complaint was recorded and his concerns were looked into at the time. It was found that on each occasion the complainant was stopped by police there was a legitimate and appropriate reason for doing so.
‘In addition there was no indication that race played any part in the decision to stop him.
‘Upon conclusion of the complaint the complainant was given a right to appeal the findings to the IOPC, however he did not submit an appeal.
‘The recent allegations have not yet been brought to the attention of Dyfed-Powys Police by the complainant, but a member of our Professional Standards Department will be making contact with him to discuss further.’
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