Sadiq Khan letter urges IOPC to investigate Met officers who strip searched ‘Child Q’ for gross misconduct

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The mayor of London has called for sanctions imposed by a police watchdog on the cops involved to be increased from misconduct to gross misconduct, LondonWorld can reveal.

Officers who strip searched a 15-year-old black schoolgirl who was on her period should have their actions treated as gross misconduct, Sadiq Khan has said.

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Horrific details of the “degrading” search of the teenager - who was removed from a mock exam, made to remove her sanitary pad, and bend over - emerged in a safeguarding report.

London mayor Sadiq Khan. Photo: GettyLondon mayor Sadiq Khan. Photo: Getty
London mayor Sadiq Khan. Photo: Getty | Getty Images

Officers were aware the girl, who was not permitted to use the bathroom, was menstruating.

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The report, published by the City and Hackney Safeguarding Board heard from Child Q and her relatives that she “can’t go a single day without wanting to scream, shout, cry or just give up”, was often found “screaming in her sleep”, and was “self-harming, traumatised and requires therapy”.

Her aunt said: “She is now a shell of the bubbly child she was before this incident.”

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Speaking today (Thursday, March 17), Mr Khan said: “I am disgusted and angered by the account of what a 15-year-old black schoolgirl from Hackney was subjected to.

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick makes a statement outside of the Old Bailey, following the sentencing of Wayne Couzens  (Photo by DANIEL LEAL/AFP via Getty Images)Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick makes a statement outside of the Old Bailey, following the sentencing of Wayne Couzens  (Photo by DANIEL LEAL/AFP via Getty Images)
Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick makes a statement outside of the Old Bailey, following the sentencing of Wayne Couzens (Photo by DANIEL LEAL/AFP via Getty Images) | AFP via Getty Images

The investigation by the board found racism likely played a part in the decision to conduct the search, which has understandably been extremely traumatic for the child and her family.

In the letter to the IOPC director general, Michael Lockwood, Mr Khan wrote: “I read the report with dismay and disgust.

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“I am writing to urge you to consider in detail the report by the Local Safeguarding Practice Review, particularly its finding that racism had a role in the decision to conduct the search.

“I’d be grateful if you would confirm that this case will be considered as one of gross misconduct.”

He said the case had caused “widespread concern amongst the public” and that incidents such as Child Q’s experience “foster distrust” and “hamper any efforts to police by consent”.

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“I am determined that the next commissioner must have a plan to tackle the serious cultural issues within the Met Police and regain the trust of Londoners.”

However, the mayor has also faced criticism today for his previous suggestion that police should be stationed in schools reopening post-lockdown, to avoid a surge in violent crime.

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Mandu Reid, leader of the Women’s Equality Party (WEP), wrote on Twitter: “Like so many black women I’m still reeling from learning what happened to Child Q.

“Sadiq Khan - the police have no place in our schools. Especially this version of the police… we cannot trust them.”