Hackney young people and police trading places

Small groups of young offenders and police officers from Hackney are regularly getting together at workshops, hosted by the Council’s Mobile Intervention Team, part of the Youth Offending Team, to gain a better understanding of their relationship.

The Trading Places workshops give young people and the police the opportunity to participate in discussions and role play to tackle the often negative preconceptions and stereotypes associated with contact between them.

The three two-hour sessions look at the real life situations that young people and the police are confronted with every day. This includes issues around police powers such as Stop and Search or Stop and Speak, also anti-social behaviour and complaints.

Cllr Alan Laing, Hackney’s Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods, said: “The boundaries that exist between young people and the police can sometimes be confrontational and based on misunderstanding. These workshops aim to find a common ground on which trust can be established and built on.”

During the most recent workshop six young offenders, aged 15-17, were able to work with PC Eaton, PC Jo Britton and Sgt Guy Elsey from Hackney Central Safer Neighbourhoods Team. They have achieved AQA accreditation together with a better understanding of how they can challenge prejudice, promote equality and look for positive ways forward.

Sergeant Guy Elsey of Hackney Central Safer Neighbourhoods team, said: "We have found Trading Places to be very worthwhile in helping us build bridges with Hackney s youth. The event is facilitated by youth workers at the club, with officers and young people sitting together and discussing the issues, which affect them on a day-to-day basis. At the start of the course many of the young people appeared hostile to police but by the end they gained a useful understanding and respect of what we do and we find that this knowledge brings benefits to both sides for the future."

For more information about Hackney’s Youth Offending Team visit the Council’s website: or email: