Two of the five officers who were involved in the traumatic strip search of a 15-year-old black girl in her school in Hackney, London, have been removed from frontline duties, the Metropolitan police has confirmed.
The admission came at a community meeting on Wednesday evening as anger over the treatment of the girl, known as Child Q, continues. The meeting was originally supposed to take place in person but had to be moved online after the police force could not find a venue. More than 250 people attended, with more wanting to but unable to join because of the meeting’s limit.
Tensions were high on the call with many frustrated and angry attenders saying that the force was institutionally racist, and that they had not addressed the issue face on.
The police panel, led by Hackney’s Basic Unit commander, Marcus Barnett, admitted that the Met has a problem with officers viewing inner London children as “adults”, adding that what happened to Child Q would probably not have happened to a child living in the Cotswolds, as an example.
“I think we view inner London kids as adults, the issue we have in policing at the moment is that we view kids and we believe that kids in London are more resilient than they are,” said detective superintendent Dan Rutland, who was also on the panel.
It was also confirmed that two of the officers that conducted the search in December 2020 have been removed from frontline duties. The Independent Office for Police Conduct is investigating the incident.
The meeting also revealed that Barnett knew about the girl being strip searched in January 2021. Officers were called due to a teacher wrongly suspecting that she had cannabis. He added that the school “probably should not have called us and we should probably have understood very quickly that we had no role to play there”.
Chanel Dolcy, a solicitor at Bhatt Murphy, which is representing the family in proceedings against the police, said Child Q had launched civil proceedings against the force and her school seeking to hold both institutions to account “to ensure this never happens again to any other child”.
She added: “The Metropolitan police has seemed incapable of reform for generations, and it is difficult to say it will ever change.”
Source: The Guardian