Black schoolgirl who was strip-searched while on period to sue Met Police | UK News

A black teenager who was strip-searched by Metropolitan Police officers at school is suing the force.

The 15-year-old schoolgirl, known as Child Q, will also be taking civil action against her school over the incident, according to law firm Bhatt Murphy.

It comes as the youngster released a statement thanking people for their support, saying: “I know I am not alone.”

The incident happened on 3 December 2020, but only came to light this month in a safeguarding report.

It revealed that police officers had strip-searched the girl at her school, without another adult present and in the knowledge that she was on her period.

Her lawyer, Chanel Dolcy, said Child Q “seeks to hold both institutions to account including through cast-iron commitments to ensure this never happens again”.

What has the reaction been?

The case has sparked outrage from politicians, campaigners, and members of the public since it emerged.

Scotland Yard said in a statement that school staff had called police after they became concerned the girl “smelled strongly of cannabis and may have been in possession of drugs”.

The force said the child’s bag and clothing were both searched by the school, and two female officers conducted a further search, where no drugs were found.

The Local Child Safeguarding Practice Review, conducted by City and Hackney Safeguarding Children Partnership, found the strip search should never have happened, was unjustified, and racism “was likely to have been an influencing factor”.

The review concluded that the impact on Child Q was “profound” and the repercussions “obvious and ongoing”.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan speaks to media at New Scotland Yard, following the death of a police officer, in London, Friday, Sept. 25, 2020

Sadiq Khan said he was ‘extremely concerned’ by the report. Pic: AP

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan shared his “dismay and disgust” and campaigner Patrick Vernon said “we need full accountability and criminal prosecutions”.

Scotland Yard has since apologised, saying the incident “should never have happened”.

The Independent Office of Police Conduct has investigated three police officers for misconduct.

Ms Dolcy, who specialises in police misconduct and claims against public authorities, is acting for Child Q, alongside Florence Cole, education and community care solicitor at Just for Kids Law.

Please support this important march and vigil. Share with your networks so we show solidarity to child Q and her family. I am still sickening and angry. We need full accountability and criminal prosecutions Like the Windrush Scandal warm apologies is now outdated.

— Patrick Vernon (@ppvernon) March 17, 2022

‘An appalling and shocking case’

In the statement, Ms Dolcy said: “The Metropolitan Police has seemed incapable of reform for generations, and it is difficult to say that will ever change.

“Nevertheless, this is a pivotal time for the Metropolitan Police as it awaits the appointment of a new commissioner.

“Child Q’s family are calling on the home secretary and mayor of London to ensure that only someone willing to declare publicly the persistence of institutional racism and institutional sexism in the Met Police is appointed as the new Met commissioner.

“Child Q’s family expect the new commissioner to include affected communities in designing a plan to rid the force of these diseases and to affect that plan as a priority.”

Ms Cole added: “This is an appalling, shocking case which illustrates wider problems in schools and communities about the treatment of Black children which unfortunately is systemic; and the lack of safeguarding and the failure to recognise the ripple effects of trauma that follows, long after such an ordeal.

“As the government sets guidance for schools, we strongly urge it to learn from the failings in this case.”

Following the emergence of the report, Hackney Cop Watch organised a protest in north London today, with further demonstrations planned over the weekend across the country.

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