Four Met police officers face strip search investigation

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Four Metropolitan Police officers are being investigated for serious misconduct after a 15-year-old black schoolgirl was strip-searched while at school.

The teenager, known as Child Q, was strip-searched by Met officers in 2020 after she was wrongly suspected of carrying cannabis at her East London school.

The strip search sparked days of protests in Hackney after it emerged the girl was strip-searched without another adult present and knowing she was menstruating. Her parents were not contacted.

The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) has confirmed that four Met officers have received notices of serious misconduct in connection with its ongoing investigation into allegations that boy Q was searched without clothing. inappropriate way.

A spokesperson said: “As with all of our investigations, we continually review evidence and lines of inquiry as the investigation progresses. As part of this, issues were identified that required further investigation notices to be provided to officers.

“Four officers have now been informed that they are being investigated for possible breaches of police standards of professional behavior at the level of serious misconduct, which does not necessarily mean that they will follow disciplinary proceedings.

“Any identified conduct issues, and their severity, are kept under review at all times and may be modified in light of any evidence collected by the investigative team.”

The IOPC investigation is examining whether laws, policies and procedures were followed during the strip search of the child. “We are looking into complaints that her mother was not given the opportunity to be present during the strip search and that there were no other appropriate adults present,” the spokesperson said.

“We are also considering whether the girl’s ethnicity played a role in the officers’ decision to strip-search her.”

The search of Girl Q was carried out without the presence of another adult and knowing that she was menstruating, confirmed a security report.

The local review of child protection practices, conducted by the City & Hackney Safeguarding Children Partnership (CHSCP), concluded that strip searching should never have occurred, was not justified, and that racism was “likely to have been an influencing factor”.

The police watchdog said it received a voluntary referral from the Met on May 6, 2021. Asked why several months passed between the incident occurring and the Met police referring to the IOPC, the force said: “Information was provided to the child’s family. to support any complaint they wish to make against the service of the Metropolitan Police.

“A complaint was subsequently received and referred to the Independent Office for Police Conduct in May 2021 for investigation.”

The girl previously said she “can’t go a single day without wanting to scream, yell, cry or just give up” since the search.

During the search, intimate parts of her body were exposed and she was forced to remove her sanitary pad. No drugs were found.

Diane Abbott, Labor MP for Hackney North and Stoke Newington, told the BBC: “I’m glad the IOPC has stepped up the investigation, but the community is very concerned about how long the investigation is taking.”

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