Child Q: four Met police officers facing investigation over strip-search

quattro polizia metropolitana officers are being investigated for gross misconduct after a 15-year-old black schoolgirl was strip-searched while at school.

The teenager, referred to as Child Q, was strip-searched by female Met officers in 2020 after she was wrongly suspected of carrying cannabis at her east Londra scuola.

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

The Independent Office for Polizia Conduct (IOPC) has confirmed that four Met officers have been served with gross misconduct notices in connection with its ongoing investigation into complaints that Child Q was inappropriately strip-searched.

Un portavoce ha detto: “As with all of our investigations we continually review the evidence and lines of inquiry as the investigation progresses. As a part of this, matters were identified which required new notices of investigation to be served on officers.

“Four constables have now been advised that they are being investigated for potential breaches of the police standards of professional behaviour at the level of gross misconduct, which does not necessarily mean that disciplinary proceedings will follow.

“Any conduct matters identified, and their seriousness, are kept under review throughout and can be amended in light of any evidence gathered by the investigation team.”

The IOPC investigation is examining whether legislation, policies and procedures were followed during the strip-search of the child. “We are looking at complaints that her mother was not given the opportunity to be present during the strip-search, and that there was no other appropriate adult present," ha detto il portavoce.

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

The search of Child Q took place without another adult present and in the knowledge that she was menstruating, a safeguarding report found.

The local child safeguarding practice review, conducted by City & Hackney Safeguarding Children Partnership (CHSCP), concluded the strip-search should never have happened, was unjustified, and that racism “was likely to have been an influencing factor”.

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

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

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

During the search her intimate body parts were exposed and she was made to take off her sanitary towel. No drugs were found.

Diane Abbott, the Labour MP for Hackney North and Stoke Newington, told the BBC: “I am glad the IOPC has escalated the investigation, but the community is very concerned about how long the investigation is taking.”

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