Alexander Paul, an 18 year-old Warwick University student from Crystal Palace, delivered a powerful speech at the Tory party conference on Tuesday, where he criticised police stop and search tactics.
Black people in the UK are six times more likely than whites to be stopped and searched. Yet the justification of stop and search tactics is immensely undermined by the fact that only 10 per cent of stop and searches result in an arrest.
In his speech Paul told the audience of his own experience, describing having been stopped and searched more than 20 times since aged 13 even though he has no history of criminal activity. For Mr Paul said that the way that stop and searches are conducted is, “an issue beyond party politics. I’m just happy to be taking an active stance.”
The student said Home Secretary Theresa May encouraged him before his speech. “I spoke to Theresa May a few minutes before the speech and she told me to go out there and be confident because it’s something I feel deeply and passionately about. She then gave me some tips and advice on delivery,” he said. May later commended Paul’s speech as ‘inspiring.’
Paul, who is studying politics and international studies at Warwick University, has also commented on the way that government is alienating a lot of British minority voters saying, “What I got from a lot of my friends, especially in inner city areas, is they feel politics doesn’t represent them anymore.”
Paul revealed that, “It was very nerve-wracking but an immense privilege” to deliver the speech at the Tory conference, adding that it has inspired him to become an MP and human rights lawyer.