Child Q officers removed from frontline duties
Two female Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) officers who strip-searched a 15-year-old black schoolgirl while she was menstruating have been removed from frontline duties.
Teachers had called the police to the school after wrongly believing the teenager had cannabis on her person in December 2020. No responsible adult was present during the search.
A subsequent safeguarding report found the search of the teen, known only as Child Q, was unjustified and that “racism was likely to have been an influencing factor”.
It is understood that the officers have not been suspended or placed under any formal restrictions but are no longer attending local frontline incidents.
There have been several protests at Stoke Newington police station over the incident, and councillors have called on the borough commander to resign.
The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) is investigating the officers for alleged misconduct and Child Q has begun legal action against both the MPS and her school in relation to the incident.
In a statement issued by her family, Child Q said: “I want to thank the thousands of people across the world of all backgrounds who have offered me support following everything I’ve been through. I know I am not alone.”
Her mother added: “We now look to the IOPC to make sure there is an effective investigation into the officers involved so they are individually held to account and face real consequences for what they have done.
“We expect the school to reflect on the findings of the City and Hackney Safeguarding Children Partnership report and take necessary action against all members of staff involved.”
Commander Dr Alison Heydari at the MPS said: “While we await the findings of the IOPC investigation, we have already taken action to ensure that our officers and staff have a refreshed understanding of the policy for conducting a ‘further search’ and advice around dealing with schools, ensuring that children are treated as children. Alongside this, local officers have been briefed on the incident and are alive to community concerns.
“The report and its recommendations have been shared with our Specialist Crime Review Group and our Continuous Policing Improvement Command to ensure that all opportunities for wider learning are acted on immediately.
“We are in full agreement with the Safeguarding Review that this incident should never have happened. It is truly regrettable and on behalf of the Met I reiterate our apology to the child concerned, her family and the wider community.”