It is rare that I read a story which fills me with visceral rage but this one managed it. Met Police Misconduct is nothing new.
The Met’s conduct over Partygate is a great example of just how badly they can get it wrong as an institution. But this case is particularly evil for the sheer number of adults that failed to safeguard a child. How so many can get it so wrong defies belief.
I understand that no institution is perfect, but the police are trusted with enormous powers. Without meaning to channel my inner Spiderman, with great power comes great responsibility. When the police make mistakes the ramifications for individuals are severe and life changing. People have even committed suicide as a result of police misconduct. The police must be held to the highest standards. Any deviation from these standards must be met with swift, decisive action.
What actually happened?
In December 2020 a 15 year old school girl was pulled out of an exam to be searched by Police. It seems that teachers had called the police because the girl smelled of cannabis. I’m surprised that such a puritanical bunch even know what cannabis smells like, but that’s a side point. The Police duly dispatched officers who strip searched the girl. She happened to be on her period at the time and informed the police as such. They didn’t care and no one contacted a responsible guardian.
She was innocent, but that shouldn’t matter. No child should be subjected to that sort of treatment. The police have investigated. As well as condemning the actions, they also found that there was probably a racial element to this (Child Q is black). The force has apologised, but apologies are not enough. This young girl has been robbed of her childhood. In my view, every single adult that allowed this to happen should be sacked. Immediately. Worse, they should all be banned from working with children again.
So what has actually happened to the staff involved? Virtually nothing. Two of the officers have been “removed from frontline duties” but all are still working for the police. If this doesn’t go beyond the standards expected then I don’t know what does.
Met Police misconduct is not a few isolated incidents; it’s systemic
Peeling away the layers on this paints an utterly damning picture.
It seems that a black person is 9x more likely than a white person to be subjected to a stop and search. One 14 year old black child was stopped by police more than 30 times in two years. A report by the times went even further; apparently up to 5 school children are strip searched by the police every single day.
I cannot imagine what that must feel like. Dehumanising is the first word that springs to mind. The government are quick to condemn, but in the next breath seem ready to hand the police more powers. In my mind I think the police need to prove they can be trusted with the powers they already have.
The fact that the officers and teachers have seemingly got off scot-free whilst a young girls life is in tatters is what really hits home for me. I am generally wary of witch hunts, but it’s about time someone took accountability for a change.