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The Met takes Child Q’s strip search racism allegation ‘very seriously’ UK News

The Metropolitan Police assistant commissioner said the Met “takes very seriously” the claim that racism played a part in the strip search of a black schoolgirl in Hackney.

Louisa Rolfe, who has been tipped as a potential candidate to replace Cressida Dick as Met Commissioner, told a meeting of the London Assembly’s Policing and Crime Committee last Wednesday that the Met had accepted the findings of a safeguard review and took seriously the issues of “adultification of black children” and “what it might mean in policing.”

Jim Gamble, Hackney’s independent child protection commissioner, concluded in a protection review that racism “was likely to have been an influencing factor” in the Met officers’ decision to search at naked a 15 year old black girl in her school.

Hundreds of people gathered in London over the weekend to show their support for the girl known only as Child Q and to demand an end to the police in schools.

Read more: Sadiq Khan says Child Q officers should be investigated for gross misconduct

Speaking at the newly opened City Hall building on Wednesday, Louisa Rolfe said the Met were “shocked and saddened” by the incident, adding that “it should never have happened”.

The assistant commissioner said the Met needs to ensure officers are ‘culturally aware and competent’ and this needs to be addressed by ‘building stronger relationships with our communities and being very open with our usage data coercive powers”.

Ms Rolfe went on to explain that it was “unusual” for officers to respond to incidents in schools and that it is usually the job of specially trained school officers to intervene in situations such as that experienced by Child Q .

Read more: Home Office adviser says Child Q case ‘should horrify us all’

She said: ‘We like our school officers to develop close relationships working with schools to address any concerns, but it would be unusual for response officers to be called into a school to deal with an incident of this nature. . The safeguarding review makes it very clear that safeguarding needs to come first and partners need to work together and – the police have a role to play in safeguarding – but we need to work together to address these issues. First and foremost, this would normally be through school officers who have a higher level of protection training and higher levels of awareness, but also a close relationship with schools and students to understand their responsibilities and how we support protection in an educational environment. ”

According to Met data, there were 357 designated school officers in the 2019/20 school term, up from 294 in 2016/20. The Met received 56 complaints about school officers in 2019 and 48 complaints in 2020.

The nature of the complaints ranged from rudeness and unprofessional attitudes to aggression and harassment.

The Met has been forced to review the role of its agents in schools in 2020 due to a legal challenge which has raised concerns they are disproportionately targeting black and minority ethnic pupils.

Read more: Child Q case is ‘deeply distressing’, says Johnson

Following the Child Q revelations, Ms Rolfe told Assembly members the Met had ‘refreshed’ the information it gave to officers and ‘strengthened’ the policy that an appropriate adult must be present when police search a child under 18.

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This notice was published: 2022-03-29 10:14:14

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