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22nd Apr 2022

Children as young as 10 strip searched by Met Police – new data reveals

Kieran Galpin

600 strip searches were carried out on under-18s

Following the police strip-searching of a 15-year-old girl, now referred to as Child Q, new data has revealed that the Metropolitan Police have employed full strip searches on kids as young as 10.

Between 2018 and 2021, nearly 600 strip searches were carried out on under-18s, according to reports from the Evening Standard. In a damming data set obtained by London Assembly Green party member Caroline Russell, it’s shown that four children aged between 10 and 12 had intimate areas of their bodies exposed by police officers.

In the four year period, 135 12 to 15-year-olds were strip-searched, as were 452 young people aged between 16 and 17.

Via Getty

“The police have enormous power allowing them to stop and search and strip-search Londoners,” Russell told the Evening Standard. “There may be some circumstances where this is needed, but Londoners and the people who police us need an urgent conversation about the way these powers are used in relation to the strip searching of children.”

This comes after the now-viral story that saw Child Q strip-searched by female officers after her teacher had smelt marijuana. The incident happened in 2020 at a school in Hackney and a safeguarding report published in March detailed how she had her intimate areas exposed and was even told to remove her sanitary towel.

Via Getty

Scotland Yard described the officers’ actions as “regrettable”, adding that it “should never have happened.”

After calls for resignations, Hackney mayor Philip Glanville said the “school leadership has lost the confidence of the school, myself and the community.”

The school’s headteacher revealed they would be stepping down earlier this week, with a replacement already set to take over.

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