Last year a study showed that Metropolitan police officers are up to 28 times more likely to stop-and-search black people than they are white people. A statistic that’s forced photographer Adama Jalloh to take to the streets of south and east London to document those at the centre of that shocking figure, in her ongoing series, You Fit the Description. In it, Jalloh shoots young men alongside the locations they were stopped in.
“I felt the issue is never shown in the media. You rarely hear these individuals openly voice their feelings on the matter,” Jalloh explains. “One guy was searched minutes before I spoke to him. He instantly mentioned the feeling of intimidation from regularly being followed for no reason.” To capture the intense realism present throughout the series, Jalloh approached individuals to which she had no personal connection. One of the subjects, who asked to remain unnamed, told her: “The first thing that comes to mind when I think about stop-and-searches is discrimination.”
Jalloh wanted to shine a light on those affected by such prejudice. “Art is a quick way to send important messages to people. In this case showing what London is really like, especially to those who choose to ignore the reality,” she explains. “I don’t have an issue with stop-and-searches; I have an issue with the abuse of power centred around them. Communities have lost faith in the police. The way stop-and-searches are used has created a barrier. How can you expect a system to protect and serve properly when racism is happening within their walls?”