The Metropolitan Police leadership is not providing the support Londoners need in the wake of the Child Q scandal, the mayor of London has said.
Sadiq Khan said the case of the 15-year-old schoolgirl who was strip-searched after being falsely suspected of carrying hashish is “another example of the Met police falling below the standards we expect of them”.
He said he believed there were “deep cultural problems” in the strength of racism, sexism, homophobia and other forms of discrimination and that he expected a new commissioner to develop a plan for change.
Society will be less secure for all if certain communities cannot trust or trust the officers guarding the streets of Britain, he added.
Child Q was searched by female metropolitan police officers at her school in 2020 without another adult present and in the knowledge that she was menstruating.
A Local Child Safeguarding Practice Review, conducted by the City & Hackney Safeguarding Children Partnership (CHSCP) and published last week, concluded that the strip search should never have taken place, was unwarranted, and racism “probably had an influencing factor”.
Khan told the PA news agency: “The current commissioner may not like it, the Met Police Federation does not like it, but I think there are deep cultural problems in the police in relation to racism, sexism, homophobia, discrimination and think good about. “
He said he expects a new commissioner to present a plan for the service to change and regain public confidence.
He added: “It is possible on the one hand to say that we have many, many, decent, dedicated, brave officers, but on the other hand the Met Police management does not provide the support they need or that we need as a city. “
After the “traumatic” search, family members described the teenager as changing from a “happy-go-lucky girl to a timid recluse who hardly speaks”, who is now hurting herself and in need of therapy.
Scotland Yard has apologized, saying the incident “should never have happened”.
Three police officers have been investigated for misconduct by the Independent Police Behavior Office (IOPC), which is finalizing its report.
The girl has filed a civil lawsuit against Metropolitan Police and her school, law firm Bhatt Murphy said.
The case has sparked outrage from politicians and the public, with Gender Equality Minister Kemi Badenoch calling it a “shocking incident” and protests taking place over the weekend in London.
The Met said it is working “very hard” to rebuild the trust that has been “deeply damaged” by a series of events.
Commander Dr Alison Heydari of the Met’s Frontline Policing Unit said: “While awaiting the results of the IOPC survey, we have already taken steps to ensure that our officers and staff have a renewed understanding of the policy of conducting a ‘further search’. and counseling on dealing with schools that ensures that children are treated like children.
“Along with this, local officers have been briefed on the incident and are alive in the face of community concerns.”