Police watchdog investigator resigned over Bianca Williams stop and search case

A former IOPC investigator revealed she quit over claims of interference in the Bianca Williams 'racial profiling' case, but the police watchdog "absolutely refutes" her accusations.

The stop and search of Team GB sprinter Williams and her partner Ricardo Dos Santos in Maida Vale, London, went viral in 2020, with footage showing a number of police officers surrounding their car.

The athletes, who had their three-month-old son in the car at the time, were handcuffed and searched for weapons and drugs, but nothing was found and no arrests were made.

Ms Williams accused the Met Police of having racially profiled the couple and the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) began investigating the incident.

Five officers are facing dismissal for potential breaches of professional standards.

'The integrity of the organisation, in my view, was completely diminished'

Trisha Napier, who was in charge of deciding whether any of the officers had done something wrong, resigned from her role in November 2020 and is taking the watchdog to an employment tribunal.

She told BBC Newsnight her probe was "watered down" and felt the former director general of the IOPC, Michael Lockwood, "interfered" with the case by requesting to see footage and documents.

Ms Napier said: "I was supposed to be leading an investigation and my decisions were overturned by senior managers.

"The integrity of the organisation, in my view, was completely diminished and I could just no longer... work for them anymore."

IOPC refutes Ms Napier's claims

The IOPC said the allegations were "without merit" and they "found no evidence of any improper practice or interference".

A spokeswoman for the watchdog responded: "IOPC decisions are made independently of the police, the government and any other group or individual. They are based solely on the available evidence.

"We absolutely refute the suggestion that our decisions were influenced by anything other than the evidence during this investigation."

Regarding the claims Mr Lockwood had interfered in the case, the spokeswoman added: "The director general is responsible and accountable for all IOPC operational decisions."

They added that the director general may review the evidence themselves which is "not unusual or unique to this case".