A Black ex-soldier who claims police in Wales have stopped and searched him more than 40 times in the space of 10 years is accusing authorities of racially profiling him. Speaking with Metro, Phil Powell, who currently runs an eatery, said police “constantly” searching him has had a negative impact on him.
Over the last two years, police have allegedly pulled Powell over on eight occasions. The Aberaeron resident also said he cannot even keep track of the number of times police have pulled him over. Powell, who has videoed several of the encounters, claims Dyfed-Powys Police are targeting him because of the color of his skin. He also accuses the law enforcement officers of physically assaulting him.
In one of the counters, Powell alleged an officer “kneed” him in the presence of his wife and children. He also said two “confrontational” police officers recently pulled him over after they closely followed his car, adding that the officers usually breathalyze him and check his tyres and insurance.
Powell’s encounters with the police are also sometimes violent, Metro reported. In May 2020, the Black ex-soldier was allegedly “kneed” by an officer after he was stopped and searched. The officer also took his car keys.
“The officer came storming out and asked me why I didn’t pull over immediately. I was perfectly calm but he was in a rage,” Powell recalled. “This guy was trying to provoke me and suggested there were reports about a white van in the area that’s been suspicious or some nonsense.
“Before I could produce my license and registration this guy pulled open my door and grabbed my key out – and kneed me while he pushed past.”
Eight days after that encounter, Powell claimed he was followed to his home by police, adding that the officers woke his family up around 1 am to allege he was speeding. “‘It’s not nice. The police came to the house at gone midnight and they were banging on the door – we had two young kids at the time who were fast asleep who were woken up by it – which is disturbing for them,” Powell’s wife said.
“And obviously, it’s disturbing for my husband because he didn’t do anything wrong! He’s coming home after a long day in work just to be harassed by the police. It’s just totally unfair – he’s never done anything to deserve that. And it’s always happened!”
Powell also said he knows when he’s being pulled over because he has been racially profiled. “Believe me, I know the difference,” he added. “When a police officer comes up to you and instantly has an angry look on his face like he wants to fight, you’ll understand what I’m saying.”
He continued: “I’m 100% sure it’s racial profiling. Now it’s reached a point when, if I’m stopped, I’m just so angry I can’t help but let out my frustration. I’ve been stopped so many times it’s hard to keep track.”
Police in England and Wales can stop and search individuals if they have “reasonable grounds” the person has possession of illegal drugs, a weapon or stolen goods, Metro reported. A few of those searches are, however, done without “reasonable grounds.” This is known as Section 60 orders.
Statistics also show that police are seven times more likely to search Black people than their White counterparts. Dyfed-Powys Police are also eight times more likely to search Black people than their White counterparts.
“We are aware of the complainant’s concerns having received his complaint via the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) in May 2020,” a Dyfed-Powys Police spokesperson said.
“His complaint was recorded and his concerns were looked into at the time. It was found that on each occasion the complainant was stopped by police there was a legitimate and appropriate reason for doing so.
“In addition, there was no indication that race played any part in the decision to stop him. Upon conclusion of the complaint, the complainant was given a right to appeal the findings to the IOPC, however, he did not submit an appeal.
“The recent allegations have not yet been brought to the attention of Dyfed-Powys Police by the complainant, but a member of our Professional Standards Department will be making contact with him to discuss further.”