A video shared by the Metropolitan Police of officers conducting random drug searches has been met with backlash online.
The video, posted yesterday by the Met’s official Twitter account, was shared with the caption: “Taskforce Officers were out recently doing drug swabs in Shoreditch as part of a wider operation to ensure the night time economy is a safe place for all.”
The compilation of videos showed multiple random drug swabs being carried out in the district of Shoreditch in Hackney, East London, which is known for its nightlife scene.
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But members of the public as well as multiple public figures took to Twitter to share concern about the random searches.
One Twitter user commented on the post: “A lot of people are asking under what legal power you were doing this. Can you explain?”
Another said: “Is this allowed??? Just stopping people randomly and swabbing them?”
Many had questions to ask the Met about the implications of this kind of searching.
One asked: “This is insane. So if you lean against a bar or use a toilet in a club and get traces of a drug on your hand what then? Is this now a criminal offence? Can you confirm this.”
But not all Twitter users criticised the practice.
One said the searches could be useful as a deterrent for local drug dealers and users. They said:
“Maybe I’m being ignorant, but why are random drug tests bad?
“As long as there is no profiling going on, it seems like the threat of a random check is a good deterrent and could protect from drinks being spiked etc.
“I understand the desperate need for change in the police force…”
Posting from its Twitter account, the Met Police issued a further statement regarding the video.
The post said: “The video posted by the Met on social media was filmed in Shoreditch during a ‘week of action’ supporting women’s safety between Monday, 6 and Sunday, 12 December 2021.
“The upsurge in activity included safety patrols of the night time economy, as well as tackling unlicensed minicabs, and attending schools to speak to staff and students.
“Officers across the Met came together to work in areas which have seen a spike in incidents where women and girls have been made to feel unsafe or have been victims of crime, and we know there is an inextricable link between Class A drugs and serious crime and violence on the streets of London.”
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