'It could be our children, our city': Solidarity march held in Nottingham shows support for Child Q

A solidarity protest has taken place in Nottingham to show support for a black London schoolgirl who was strip-searched by police while she was at school. Credit: ITV News Central

A solidarity protest has taken place in Nottingham to show support for a black London schoolgirl who was strip-searched by police while she was at school.

Nottingham Women 4 Change called the protest on Sunday to show support for the girl, known as Child Q, her family and the Black community across Nottingham, London, and the wider UK.

Siân Steans, organising the protest, said: "As the details have emerged on this story, all of us who have read about it and learned about it have been angry and heart-sick at the trauma this girl has endured.

"We also feel for every other person that has endured this kind of trauma from state violence at the hands of the Metropolitan Police, and the hands of other agencies.

"Although we're in Nottingham, and Child Q is in London, we know it could happen anywhere.

"It could be our children, our city."

Child Q's ordeal came to light earlier this week in a safeguarding report that showed she was on her period and was asked her to remove her sanitary towel during the strip-search by Metropolitan Police officers, after she was wrongly suspected of carrying cannabis.

The case has sparked widespread outrage, with the report concluding that the strip search should never have happened, was unjustified and racism had a role in their decision.

The girl, who was 15 at the time of the incident in 2020, is taking civil action against the Metropolitan Police and her school, the law firm Bhatt Murphy said.

She is acting to obtain “cast-iron commitments to ensure this never happens again to any other child”.

People in Nottingham tell ITV News Central that they stand in solidarity with Child Q:

At the protest in Nottingham, a woman attending with her five year old daughter said as a parent it made her feel shocked and saddened.

Chantelle Lee said: "For me, it's important to be here and show that young girl that people really do care about what happened.

"We're here to have our voices heard and to ensure children are being protected in schools."

Also at the demonstration was Sam Dennis, who told ITV News Central that as a black woman with children, and grandchildren, she felt she needed to stand up.

"This child was stripped of her childhood.

"It's heartbreaking to know she's had to experience this.

"Race is 100% a factor, we already know that stop and search for black people is disproportionate, so the fact that they're going into schools is scary."

Placards at the protest called for justice for Child Q and for greater protection of black children. Credit: ITV News Central

The Met Police said the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) was investigating, following a complaint in May 2021.

Detective Superintendent Dan Rutland of the Met’s Central East Command 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.

“It is wholly right that the actions of officers are held to scrutiny and we welcome this review which was commissioned by the statutory partnership with the support of police.

"We have already reminded local officers of the appropriate policies in place around carrying out searches in schools.

“We are conscious that the IOPC are still completing their independent investigation, so further comment would be inappropriate at this time.”