A new report from police watchdog IOPC reveals a number of damning failures of Met police stop and search tactics, a year since the government announced an expansion of the tactics use
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The Met Police stopped and searched the same black teenager 60 times over a two year period, a damning new report from the police watchdog revealed.
The Independent Office for Police Conduct revealed the horrific abuse of power in a new report into the Met’s stop and search tactics.
In laying out a number of discriminatory and biased uses of the mechanism it warned it was quickly eroding public trust and confidence in policing.
As well as suggesting recommendations as to how police could improve their practices, they cited a number of case studies.
One was of a now 17-year-old black teen who said that between February 2018 and May 2020, when aged 14-16, they were stopped and searched more than 60 times.
This included sometimes being stopped on consecutive days or more than once a day.
The report said despite being stopped so often, and arrested, it never led to further action.
The IOPC quoted the complainant as describing: “the trauma of being intrusively and relentlessly over-policed” and being “discriminated against”.
They said the searches had a “drastic impact on his wellbeing, life and perception of policing and the justice system” to the extent he now fears and avoids police officers when possible.
A number of other cases were cited as well, including an 18-year-old black man who was jogging home from the gym when police stopped him on suspicion of having cannabis.
He said that as police took him to the ground his trousers came down and officers refused to pull them back up, leaving him on the ground in handcuffs.
No drugs were found.
Similarly, a 14-year-old black child was stopped and handcuffed when out walking through a cemetery with his grandmother.
Again nothing was found.
Other black teens and men described how they felt “vulnerable, humiliated and disrespected” in how the Met Police treated them.
The damning report went on, and cited other examples including one were officers seemingly threatened members of the public.
Officers allegedly shouted “you’re lucky I’m in uniform” and “none of us are f***ing racists so shut up with that racist sh**” at a 15-year-old Black boy when he asked officers whether his ethnicity had played a part in him being stopped and searched after allegedly smelling of cannabis.
In another instance, an officer said to a Black man “I don’t know if you’re a criminal or not, but when you start to set your phone up and call people over it sets a bit of a scene for me”.
When the member of the public filmed the officer the report said the officer said: “this shows the type of person you are”.
The IOPC said the officers often claimed the smell of cannabis alone was the sole grounds for a number of searches and called on the Home Office to review what were reasonable grounds for suspicion of possession of the drug.
This comes after a prolonged period that has seen the Met Police repeatedly come under fire for its conduct.
Following on from the vile abduction and murder of Sarah Everard, the Met Police’s conduct came under the spotlight once more.
This was not only down to how Wayne Couzens abused his position of power to abduct Everard but also how the Met cracked down violently on an otherwise peaceful vigil.
In the IOPC’s report, one officer’s stop and search records showed that 79 per cent of their targets were from a black and ethnic minority background even though only 43 per cent of the residents in the area were of those ethnicities.
The police watchdog also warned that the current stop and search tactics were seriously damaging trust in the police.
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The report acknowledged that stop and search was a “legitimate policing tactic”.
Stop and search has been a key part of historically successful attempts to curb crime such as the Violent Reduction Units.
Last year, the government announced plans to increase stop and search tactics, relax restrictions around its use and increase its powers.
The Times reported that stop and search in England and Wales increased by 24 per cent to 695,009 in the 12 months ending in March last year.
The Met Police have been approached for comment.