Third Metropolitan Police child strip-search case under scrutiny

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(Nick Ansell/PA) (PA Archive)
(Nick Ansell/PA) (PA Archive)

The police watchdog has confirmed it is investigating the strip-search of another child by the Metropolitan Police, after two other controversial cases.

Two teenage girls, known as Child Q and Olivia, were strip-searched by officers while they were menstruating.

Acting Commissioner Sir Stephen House told the London Assembly Police and Crime Committee last week that there was a further case he could not discuss.

On Monday the Independent Office for Police Conduct said: “We can confirm that, following a complaint, we are investigating the strip-search of a child.

“Due to the sensitivities surrounding this matter, we cannot provide any further information at this time.”

The latest case follows those of Child Q and another anonymous teenager given the pseudonym Olivia by the BBC.

Olivia’s mother told the broadcaster that her daughter was arrested after being accused of robbery, and while in custody was found to have a sharpened stick and a small blade, said to be for self-harming.

This prompted six officers to strip-search the autistic 15-year-old in front of male colleagues, leaving her traumatised, and the BBC reported that she later tried to kill herself.

Child Q, also 15, was strip-searched by female Metropolitan Police officers in 2020 after she was wrongly suspected of carrying cannabis at her east London school.

The search took place without another adult present and in the knowledge that she was menstruating, a safeguarding report found.

The local child safeguarding practice review, conducted by City & Hackney Safeguarding Children Partnership (CHSCP), concluded the strip-search should never have happened, was unjustified and racism “was likely to have been an influencing factor”.

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