Met Police apologises for strip-searching black schoolgirl
The girl is now self harms and is in therapy
The Metropolitan Police have apologised for strip-searching a black schoolgirl after wrongly being suspected of carrying marijuana.
Police were called to a school in Hackney at the end of 2020 by teachers who believed the girl, referred to as Q, was carrying drugs. She was taken into a private medical room and strip-searched by two female officers while teachers remained outside, reports the BBC.
A safeguarding report published in March, produced by City & Hackney Safeguarding Children Partnership (CHSCP), found that the girl's "intimate" areas were exposed and she was even made to remove her sanitary towel.
No drugs were found.
Her family have argued that the incident was a racist one, something the report suggests is "likely." Her parents added that it would "unlikely to have been the same" had she not been black.
Q's family described her as a "happy-go-lucky girl" who has since become "a timid recluse that hardly speaks" and also self-harms. The report describes the "profound" repercussions of that ordeal, citing that the trauma is "obvious and ongoing."
Scotland Yard described the officers' actions as "regrettable", adding that it "should never have happened."
In a written statement to the review, Q said she wants everyone involved to be "held responsible."
She continued: "I need to know that the people who have done this to me can't do it to anyone else ever again, in fact so no-one else can do this to any other child in their care."
The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) is also investigating the matter, with Det Supt Dan Rutland having said: "We recognise that the findings of the safeguarding review reflect this incident should never have happened.
"It is truly regrettable and on behalf of the Met Police I would like to apologise to the child concerned, her family and the wider community."
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan also condemned the incident, branding it a "deeply disturbing case" that he would be "closely following" as the IOPC review continues.
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