Eight officers under investigation after boy stopped and searched multiple times

The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) is investigating the conduct of eight Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) following complaints after a 16-year-old black boy was stopped and searched by officers on six occasions over five months.

Feb 6, 2024
By Paul Jacques

The complaints – made by the Haringey Independent Stop and Search Monitoring Group on behalf of the boy and his mother in April and June 2023 – relate to six incidents where the child was stopped and searched by police between January and May 2023 across Tottenham and Stratford. On each occasion, no further action was taken by officers.

The complaints include allegations that there were insufficient grounds for the stop and searches, racial profiling by the officers, force was unreasonably used, they failed to consider the boy’s welfare and policing procedures were not consistently followed.

The IOPC said four of the searches involved Territorial Support Group (TSG) officers while the other two incidents involved local borough command officers.

“Various grounds were provided for the stop and search incidents including suspicion of drugs or theft, and the child reportedly matching descriptions of people carrying out robberies and knife crime in the area,” it added.

The IOPC investigation began after it received a mandatory complaint referral from the MPS in September 2023.

“During our investigation we have reviewed evidence including officers’ body-worn video footage and written records made at the time of the grounds for each stop and search,” said the IOPC.

“In five of the six incidents, we have identified evidence which indicates potential breaches of the police standards of professional behaviour: equality and diversity; use of force; honesty and integrity; challenging and reporting improper conduct; discreditable conduct; orders and instructions; authority, respect and courtesy; and duties and responsibilities.

“As a result, seven MPS officers have recently been advised that they are under investigation for potential gross misconduct. An eighth officer is being investigated for potential misconduct.”

The IOPC said this does not necessarily mean that disciplinary proceedings will follow for the officers.

IOPC director Charmaine Arbouin said: “The concerning allegations raised in the complaint – which include racial profiling of a child and insufficient grounds for stopping and searching them six times in five months – are issues that we know disproportionately affect black and other minority ethnic communities and erode public confidence in policing.

“It’s therefore essential that we carry out an investigation – independent of the police – to look at each of these incidents and the actions and decision-making of the officers involved.

“At this stage, we have identified potential conduct issues for eight officers relating to five of these incidents. At the end of our investigation, we will make decisions on whether any of these officers should face disciplinary proceedings.

“We will continue to keep those involved updated as our investigation progresses.”

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