Child Q: Teen to sue Met Police and school over strip search

Child Q said: “I want to thank the thousands of people across the world of all backgrounds who have offered me support following everything I’ve been through. I know I am not alone.”

Child Q - the 15-year-old schoolgirl strip searched by officers while on her period - is suing the Met Police and her school.

In a statement released by law firm Bhatt Murphy, she said: “I want to thank the thousands of people across the world of all backgrounds who have offered me support following everything I’ve been through. I know I am not alone.”

Her solicitor Chanel Dolcy said she wants to ensure this never happens again.

A safeguarding report found the search should never have happened and had no justification, and added “racism was likely to have been an influencing factor in the decision to undertake a strip search”.

The impact on the girl, known as Child Q was “profound and ongoing”.

Child Q protest. Credit: LW

Her mother told how she was often found “screaming in her sleep” and her aunt said her niece was “a shell of the bubbly child she once was”.

Child Q said she didn’t know if she would ever feel normal again.

The Independent Office for Police Conduct is investigating the officers for alleged misconduct.

Ms Dolcy said: “Child Q has launched civil proceedings against the Metropolitan Police and relevant school.

“She seeks to hold both institutions to account including through cast iron commitments to ensure this never happens again to any other child.

“The Metropolitan Police has seemed incapable of reform for generations, and it is difficult to say that will ever change.

Diane Abbott at the Child Q protest.

“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 & 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.”

The girl’s mum added: “We now look to the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) to make sure there is an effective investigation into the officers involved so they are individually held to account and face real consequences for what they have done.

“We expect the school to reflect on the findings of the City and Hackney Safeguarding Children Partnership report and take necessary action against all members of staff involved.”

Also today, members of Hackney Council called for the resignation of Hackney borough commander Marcus Barnett.

Commander Dr Alison Heydari at the Met said: “While we await the findings of the IOPC investigation, we have already taken action to ensure that our officers and staff have a refreshed understanding of the policy for conducting a ‘further search’ and advice around dealing with schools, ensuring that children are treated as children.

“Alongside this, local officers have been briefed on the incident and are alive to community concerns.

“The report and its recommendations have been shared with our Specialist Crime Review Group and our Continuous Policing Improvement Command to ensure that all opportunities for wider learning are acted on immediately.

“We are in full agreement with the Safeguarding Review that this incident should never have happened.

“It is truly regrettable and on behalf of the Met I reiterate our apology to the child concerned, her family and the wider community.”

Child Q’s family has requested that there be no speculation as to their identities or the identity of Child Q’s school, which could result in Child Q’s identity becoming known.