Former England footballer Jermaine Jenas has said racial issues with stop and search have not improved in Britain since the 1970s and has warned of a repeat of the 2011 riots if police fail to address racism.
The One Show presenter, 39, said he had been stopped dozens of times since he was 10 and remembers his father being searched by officers as a child.
He also called for more black officers in senior positions, consultation with minority groups and a ‘complete reform’ of the controversial practice ahead of a documentary he has made with Channel 4.
Jenas, a former Tottenham Hotspur midfielder who played 21 times for England, said tensions between communities and authorities are reaching tipping point.
‘Pretty much every 11 years there is a clash between the police and the local community,’ he told the Sun. ‘Look at where we are with stop and search – nothing’s changed, if anything it’s got worse, so that’s a problem.’
Thousands of people across the country rioted in 2011 in reaction to the death of Mark Duggan in Tottenham, north London, who was shot by police.
Jermaine Jenas has said racial issues with stop and search have not improved in Britain since the 1970s and has warned of a repeat of the 2011 riots if police fail to address racism
Thousands of people across the country rioted in 2011 in reaction to the death of Mark Duggan in Tottenham, north London, who was shot by police
In his new documentary, Jenas speaks to 40 black men and teenagers who have recorded their experiences of stop and search across England.
The programme shows officers appearing to be heavy handed with them, but the accused insist the authorities have a role to play in society and are doing their job.
Official figures show black people are nine times more likely to be stopped and searched. Last year there were six stop and searches for every 1,000 white people, compared with 54 for every 1,000 black people.
The Match of the Day pundit said nothing had changed since the ‘Scrap Sus’ campaigns of the 1970s and 1980s, when there were riots to protest against racially charged use of searches.
Jenas is a former Tottenham Hotspur midfielder who played 21 times for England. Pictured, tackling Cesc Fabregas of Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium on November 20, 2010
The protests started in Tottenham Hale, London, following the death of Mark Duggan
‘If you go back as far as the Sus laws of the 1970s which was the initial laws of stop and search to where we are now, nothing has changed,’ he said.
‘When those laws were brought in you had young black women and young black men who were fathers and mothers who were scared for their sons.
‘And we are now having the same conversations with 16-year-olds who are having guns and tasers pointed at them on the basis of some ridiculous low level intelligence that the police might have been given.
‘Maybe society and people walking around the streets have a much broader view when it comes to race within this country, but I think when it comes to the police there is still a lot that needs to change for me and anyone else to feel we have progressed.’
Jenas, a former Tottenham Hotspur midfielder who played 21 times for England, said tensions between communities and authorities are reaching tipping point
Jenas also told the Sun: ‘A lot of them felt there is still a need for stop and search.
‘A lot of it changed my mind and I came out of it thinking, ‘OK there is a place for this,’ the police have a job to do and they are trying to reduce crime on the streets but they’re doing it in an ineffective way, in my opinion, which could be done much better and there needs to be some things implemented.
‘And that’s not to say, ‘Oh well OK well if you’re young and black you’re nine times more likely to get stopped on the streets, therefore let’s stop more white people’.
‘No, no, that’s not the answer, the answer is about more intelligence into these stops and better communication.’
Jenas, who began presenting the BBC chat show last year, said there needed to be more black people who had experienced racism first hand making policy decisions about policing and educating front line officers.
‘You need people who understand this,’ he said.
‘Having people in those positions who are diverse, young men white, black Asian every culture you can find – we need this.’
The Truth About Police Stop and Search will be broadcast tonight at 10pm on Channel 4.