London police conducted hundreds of strip searches on children

UK: Under-fire police forces in London conducted bandage searches on more than 600 children, most of them black boys, over the course of two years, according to new information released on Monday.

After receiving the number from the Metropolitan Police, England's commissioner for children, Rachel de Souza, said she was "deeply shocked" by the findings.

De Souza's request came after Britain's largest police force was forced to apologize in March over the "Child Q" case, which has led to the investigation of four officers for felony misconduct.

In 2020, female officers conducted a strip search on a 15-year-old black schoolgirl after mistakenly believing she was carrying marijuana, even though they knew she was menstruating.

In 23% of cases discovered by de Souza, he was discovered without a "suitable adult" present, and neither was.

Between 2018 and 2020, she found that 650 minors aged 10 to 17 were subjected to strip searches by weather officials.
More than 95% of the 650 were boys, and the official described 58 percent of them as black.

De Souza expressed "extreme concern" at the disparity in racial representation and suggested that Child Que Met may be symptomatic of "a larger systemic problem around child protection".

She noted that the numbers had risen significantly each year and demonstrated that many children "are being subjected to this intrusive and painful practice every year."

A series of incidents involving officers has stunned London police in recent years, in which a member of a diplomatic security squad was sentenced to prison for the kidnapping, rape and murder of Sarah Everard.

Cressida Dick's resignation as weather commissioner in February was due to a decline in public confidence in the police.

The Metropolitan said it has already made changes "to ensure that children subject to intrusive searches are dealt with fairly and respectfully" in response to D'Souza's findings.

It acknowledged that some children may be "vulnerable victims of exploitation" by drug dealers and gangsters.

Following criticism of the Met over the Child Q case and other incidents, London Mayor Sadiq Khan increased his criticism of the agency.

According to a spokesman for Khan, the number of body searches done without any adult presence was "deeply concerning".

The spokesperson added that "there are more serious broader issues regarding inequality and the use of deterrence and search on young black boys."

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