Met officers investigated after black teenager stopped and searched six times

Met Police logo Credit: PA

Eight officers are being investigated by the police watchdog after a black teenager was stopped and searched in London six times in five months.

The Independent Office for Police Conduct said complaints had been made by the Haringey Independent Stop and Search Monitoring Group on behalf of the 16-year-old and his mother in April and June 2023.

They related to six incidents where the child was stopped and searched by Metropolitan Police officers between January and May of that year across Tottenham and Stratford.

The IOPC said no further action was taken by officers on each occasion.

The Met referred itself to the regulator in September as part of a mandatory complaint referral.

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The IOPC said seven officers were being investigated for potential gross misconduct while an eighth officer was being investigated for potential misconduct.

It said evidence of potential breaches of the police standards of professional behaviour had been identified in five of the six incidents.

Allegations of insufficient grounds for the stop-and-searches, racial profiling by the officers, force being unreasonably used, a failure to consider the boy’s welfare, and policing procedures not being consistently followed all formed part of the complaints.

The watchdog said grounds provided for the stop-and-search incidents – four of which involved Territorial Support Group (TSG) officers and two involving local borough command officers – included suspicion of drugs or theft, and that the child reportedly matched descriptions of people carrying out robberies and knife crime in the area.

As part of its investigation, the IPOC looked at officers’ body-worn video footage and written records made at the time.

Evidence of potential breaches of the police standards of professional behaviour in five of the incidents related to equality and diversity; use of force; honesty and integrity; challenging and reporting improper conduct; discreditable conduct; orders and instructions; authority, respect and courtesy; and duties and responsibilities.

IOPC director Charmaine Arbouin said: “The concerning allegations raised in the complaint – which include racial profiling of a child and insufficient grounds for stopping and searching them six times in five months – are issues that we know disproportionately affect black and other minority ethnic communities and erode public confidence in policing.

“It’s therefore essential that we carry out an investigation – independent of the police – to look at each of these incidents and the actions and decision-making of the officers involved.

“At this stage, we have identified potential conduct issues for eight officers relating to five of these incidents. At the end of our investigation, we will make decisions on whether any of these officers should face disciplinary proceedings.

“We will continue to keep those involved updated as our investigation progresses.”

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