Met Police misreports intimate searches of children

Posted: 25th May 2023

Source: BBC News

The Met has admitted it misreported the number of intimate searches that were carried out on children.

In 2021, the Met Police carried out 269 “More Thorough Searches that expose Intimate Parts” on children. It previously reported the number as 99.

Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley said last month the Met had “misused” the power.

“Each search means another child traumatised by an interaction with the Met,” Caroline Russell, Green London Assembly Member, said.

She called for more transparency over the number of searches, where they are being carried out, and whether an appropriate adult is present.

In July Ms Russell asked for location data for the 2021 searches, and on Monday was told that the figure of 99 searches was “incorrect”. The Met said the mistake was down to a “data transmission error”.

The force said that 57% of searches in 2021 were carried out at police stations, 21% at home addresses, and 21% at other locations.

Speaking at a City Hall meeting on Monday, Kenny Bowie, a director at the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime, said he was “pretty horrified” by the data transmission error.

The issue was recently scrutinised by Dame Rachel de Souza, the children’s commissioner for England.

She found that across the country, there were “systemic problems with transparency, scrutiny and non-compliance with guidelines when children were being strip-searched under stop-and-search powers”.

The Met Police has previously said it has made policy changes regarding how intimate searches are conducted under stop and search.

A spokesperson for the force said: “We have made significant steps in the training of our officers, consulting with our communities and ensuring the correct oversight of stop and search, but we are not complacent, we know there is more to be done and we will listen and act on what we hear.”

Categories: News