Met officers accused of cutting woman’s clothes off in ‘unjustified’ strip search

·2-min read
A general view of New Scotland Yard, headquarters of the Metropolitan Police (Nick Ansell/PA) (PA Archive)
A general view of New Scotland Yard, headquarters of the Metropolitan Police (Nick Ansell/PA) (PA Archive)

Two Met Police officers are facing disciplinary proceedings over claims a female detainee’s clothes were cut off with scissors in an “unjustified” strip-search witnessed by male officers.

Sergeant Dru Hussey and a PC are accused of carrying out the intrusive search “without adequate reason or justification” in a cell at Lewisham police station on May 9, 2020.

It is said Sgt Hussey authorised the strip-search in a cell fitted with CCTV. He allegedly failed to ensure male officers were not present, and is accused of a failure to “minimise embarrassment or have proper regard to dignity, sensitivity and vulnerability”.

The PC was named by the Met in the original public disciplinary notice, but is now referred to as Officer A in the second, published notice.

She is accused of striking the arrested female – referred to as Person A – six times in an alleged inappropriate use of force.

“In a CCTV cell at Lewisham Police Station, (the officer) participated in a strip search of Person A which did not comply with Code C of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984”, the notice reads.

“It is alleged that the officer did not: inform Person A that they were to be strip searched or provide reasons; conduct the strip search with proper regard to Person A’s dignity, sensitivity and vulnerability; make adequate effort to secure cooperation, maintain dignity and minimise embarrassment.

“It is alleged the officer proceeded with the strip search, including using scissors to cut off Person A’s clothing, whilst male officers were present.”

Officer A also faces an allegation she “subjected Person A to disrespectful, discourteous and degrading treatment throughout her interaction, including during transfer to police custody and at Lewisham Police Station.”

Sgt Hussey faces claims he “authorised, participated in, and had ultimate responsibility for a strip search of Person A” and “did not verify the grounds for the strip search; ascertain Person A’s identity or communicate with them; ensure Person A was informed of the fact they were to be strip searched or the reasons and method.”

The Met use of strip-searching is under intense scrutiny in the wake of the Child Q scandal, where a 15-year-old schoolgirl was subjected to one while on her period after being wrongly suspected of carrying cannabis at school.

A safeguarding review found the strip-search should never have happened, was unjustified and racism “was likely to have been an influencing factor”.

In figures released on Monday, it was revealed that 650 children aged 10-17-year-old were strip-searched by Met officers between 2018 and 2020.

The disciplinary hearing for Sgt Hussey and Officer A has been scheduled for seven days from December 12.