4 March 2014

StopWatch Strategy Day 2014

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Here's StopWatch intern Seth Maynard's account of our annual Strategy Day which took place in January.

Saturday 25th January saw our annual Strategy Day for 2014, with a day filled with lively discussion and collaboration. The day began with informal presentations and updates from members about the political challenges we are facing as a coalition, an outline of legal developments particularly the Roberts case and the validity of section 60 CJPO Act 1994 stops and searches, as well as an update on StopWatch Youth activities. After a little coffee break there was a really informative and practical talk from Saqib Deshmukh (Voice4Change) on stewarding protests and the challenges we face in dealing with police forces who are actively discouraging people from marches and peaceful protest.

After lunch the group turned to our proposed activities and priorities for the upcoming year. Reflecting on the lack of engagement with BME voters, we discussed how we can lobby MPs and prospective parliamentary candidates, highlighting stop and search reform as a means of harnessing a valuable untapped electorate in constituencies with small majorities. In the final session, members divided into smaller working groups to plan these activities; political campaigning, using the law to challenge stop and search, creating a stop and search guide for parents and  an engagement plan for our youth project.

On a personal level it was my first Strategy Day as an intern for Stopwatch and the day was a good insight into how Stopwatch works as a coalition. It was good to see just how wide a group of people come together for Stopwatch and the strength in the shared belief for reform.