RAW is an innovative concept that seeks to encourage and strengthen resistance and resilience to police misconduct during stop and searches.
In overpoliced communities, police contact too often is the cause of distress for individuals subjected to aggressive and fearful methods of interrogation and detainment, all for no reason.
Yet few of us know the ways we can protect ourselves from the potentially traumatic toll of police harassment and violence on our physical and mental wellbeing.
RAW aims to change this by empowering people to adopt a dual 'Rights and Wellbeing' approach towards dealing with the fallout from encounters with the police, focusing on paths of recovery from the traumatic effects of a search.
The impact of stop and search
Black and Minority Ethnic communities, along with other vulnerable peoples, have been subjected to disproportionate levels of stop and search for decades, with many traumatised by acts of police violence.
Trauma is the response to a deeply distressing or disturbing event that overwhelms an individual's ability to cope, causes feelings of helplessness, diminishes their sense of self and their ability to feel a full range of emotions and experiences.
Whether it be a single or repeated encounters, stop and search can scar a person so deeply that it can take a lifetime to recover, which can have long-term negative consequences for their life chances, as well as for their families and whole communities.
Why we need RAW
People of colour often walk a tightrope during interactions with the police, trying to be assertive enough to exercise their rights, thoughtful enough to avoid feelings of subservience and humiliation, and resilient enough to control the fight or flight response, all without antagonising officers who might interpret their behaviour as being disrespectful.
But the repercussions of such experiences on a person's physical and mental wellbeing are rarely mentioned. RAW aims to change this by introducing alternative ways to cope with the impact of police brutality, with a special focus on the needs of Black and Minority Ethnic communities.
What RAW has to offer
Resistance and resilience
RAW helps people in overpoliced communities develop the strength to find their voice in the face of police misconduct, and defend themselves in the face of police violence.
Recovery and self-affirmation
Participants of the RAW will learn the many ways in which they can cope with and recover from traumatic experiences that may have been inflicted upon them through police interactions.
Knowledge and understanding
RAW equips individuals with knowledge of their rights and an understanding of how stop and search procedures are carried out so that they are better prepared to deal with police interactions and understand the options available to them, both during a stop and in its aftermath.