The Police Ombudsman’s Office has launched a video on social media to explain to young people their rights and responsibilities when stopped and searched/questioned by a police officer.
Latest figures indicate that police stopped and searched/questioned more than 160,000 people in Northern Ireland over the last five years – nearly 25,000 of whom were under 18 years of age.
The Police Ombudsman’s Chief Executive, Adrian McAllister, said that while police use of their stop and search powers is not showing up as a major issue in complaints to the Office, it is one which is regularly raised:
“As part of a programme to ensure people are aware of the police complaints service, my staff regularly visit schools and youth clubs.
"Time after time young people seemed to want to talk about experiences they had when stopped and searched and to ask questions about their rights in such circumstances,” he said.
The video was produced by staff at the Police Ombudsman’s Office with the help of local young people. Part of the filming was done in Lurgan.
“We focused the on the theme of mutual respect and outlined the main rights people have when they are stopped and searched and the powers police officers have in such situations.
"Given the fact that many people now get their information through their mobile phones, we reasoned that the most effective way of communicating might be through a short film posted on Facebook.
"While we had young people in mind when making this video, the information it contains applies to the wider population too,” said Mr McAllister.
The video is also available on the Police Ombudsman's website and on YouTube.