Met Police was (and still is) institutionally corrupt

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Fishnut
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Re: Met Police was (and still is) institutionally corrupt

Post by Fishnut » Tue Mar 01, 2022 3:50 pm

egbert26 wrote:
Tue Mar 01, 2022 3:00 pm
I don't know if this is corruption or just general incompetence, but the scale of the abuse enabled by the Met does not bear thinking about:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-60512439
I'm speechless. Particularly at this line,
The Met Police said it was not investigating but anyone with information should get in touch.
it's okay to say "I don't know"

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Re: Met Police was (and still is) institutionally corrupt

Post by tom p » Wed Mar 02, 2022 3:29 pm

Fishnut wrote:
Tue Mar 01, 2022 3:50 pm
egbert26 wrote:
Tue Mar 01, 2022 3:00 pm
I don't know if this is corruption or just general incompetence, but the scale of the abuse enabled by the Met does not bear thinking about:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-60512439
I'm speechless. Particularly at this line,
The Met Police said it was not investigating but anyone with information should get in touch.
I've got no love for the Met; but I don't understand why you're in any way surprised.
Paedo was caught & prosecuted in the UK. Had to sign the sex offenders register & not leave the country. Ignored this and effed off to Bulgaria (unless the courts made him hand over his passport, he was always going to be able to do this).
Met issued a European arrest warrant.
Bulgaria doesn't have a sex offenders register, so didn't recognise it as a crime & refused to extradite him.
Paedo is no abusing kids in Bulgaria.
The met's jurisdiction ends a long way before Bulgaria. What do you expect them to do? Even if they weren't incompetent, corrupt & institutionally racist, sexist & homophobic and even if they were adequately resourced to do their job, they still couldn't be an international nonce force.
There's a lot wrong with the met police, but I don't think that one could say that this case (at least based on this news report) is one of them.

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Re: Met Police was (and still is) institutionally corrupt

Post by Fishnut » Wed Mar 02, 2022 3:55 pm

tom p wrote:
Wed Mar 02, 2022 3:29 pm
Fishnut wrote:
Tue Mar 01, 2022 3:50 pm
egbert26 wrote:
Tue Mar 01, 2022 3:00 pm
I don't know if this is corruption or just general incompetence, but the scale of the abuse enabled by the Met does not bear thinking about:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-60512439
I'm speechless. Particularly at this line,
The Met Police said it was not investigating but anyone with information should get in touch.
I've got no love for the Met; but I don't understand why you're in any way surprised.
Paedo was caught & prosecuted in the UK. Had to sign the sex offenders register & not leave the country. Ignored this and effed off to Bulgaria (unless the courts made him hand over his passport, he was always going to be able to do this).
Met issued a European arrest warrant.
Bulgaria doesn't have a sex offenders register, so didn't recognise it as a crime & refused to extradite him.
Paedo is no abusing kids in Bulgaria.
The met's jurisdiction ends a long way before Bulgaria. What do you expect them to do? Even if they weren't incompetent, corrupt & institutionally racist, sexist & homophobic and even if they were adequately resourced to do their job, they still couldn't be an international nonce force.
There's a lot wrong with the met police, but I don't think that one could say that this case (at least based on this news report) is one of them.
You make good points. I guess my surprise is that their processes to keep someone so dangerous in check have comprehensively failed and they just seem to have said 'sh.t happens'. Why was he able to avoiding signing on to the sex offenders register? How was he able to leave the country without notifying the authorities? I don't know if this is a Met screw-up or a border patrol screw-up or someone else's screw-up but it seems an indication that processes designed to protect the public are not working. Some acknowledgement of that along with some sign they are working to prevent this from happening again would be nice.
it's okay to say "I don't know"

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Re: Met Police was (and still is) institutionally corrupt

Post by Woodchopper » Wed Mar 02, 2022 3:58 pm

tom p wrote:
Wed Mar 02, 2022 3:29 pm
Fishnut wrote:
Tue Mar 01, 2022 3:50 pm
egbert26 wrote:
Tue Mar 01, 2022 3:00 pm
I don't know if this is corruption or just general incompetence, but the scale of the abuse enabled by the Met does not bear thinking about:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-60512439
I'm speechless. Particularly at this line,
The Met Police said it was not investigating but anyone with information should get in touch.
I've got no love for the Met; but I don't understand why you're in any way surprised.
Paedo was caught & prosecuted in the UK. Had to sign the sex offenders register & not leave the country. Ignored this and effed off to Bulgaria (unless the courts made him hand over his passport, he was always going to be able to do this).
Met issued a European arrest warrant.
Bulgaria doesn't have a sex offenders register, so didn't recognise it as a crime & refused to extradite him.
Paedo is no abusing kids in Bulgaria.
The met's jurisdiction ends a long way before Bulgaria. What do you expect them to do? Even if they weren't incompetent, corrupt & institutionally racist, sexist & homophobic and even if they were adequately resourced to do their job, they still couldn't be an international nonce force.
There's a lot wrong with the met police, but I don't think that one could say that this case (at least based on this news report) is one of them.
Since 2003 the UK has been able to prosecute British citizens for sex offences committed abroad.

However, its very difficult to actually investigate and prosecute someone. British police officers have no legal powers outside the UK so they couldn't detain and question a suspect, conduct surveillance or undertake forensic analysis of their phones, computers etc. A successful investigation might be possible with the full cooperation of the Bulgarian authorities. But it looks like they are unwilling or unable to take action, so in practice there probably isn't much that the Met can do in this case.

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Re: Met Police was (and still is) institutionally corrupt

Post by tom p » Wed Mar 02, 2022 4:03 pm

Fishnut wrote:
Wed Mar 02, 2022 3:55 pm
tom p wrote:
Wed Mar 02, 2022 3:29 pm
Fishnut wrote:
Tue Mar 01, 2022 3:50 pm


I'm speechless. Particularly at this line,
I've got no love for the Met; but I don't understand why you're in any way surprised.
Paedo was caught & prosecuted in the UK. Had to sign the sex offenders register & not leave the country. Ignored this and effed off to Bulgaria (unless the courts made him hand over his passport, he was always going to be able to do this).
Met issued a European arrest warrant.
Bulgaria doesn't have a sex offenders register, so didn't recognise it as a crime & refused to extradite him.
Paedo is no abusing kids in Bulgaria.
The met's jurisdiction ends a long way before Bulgaria. What do you expect them to do? Even if they weren't incompetent, corrupt & institutionally racist, sexist & homophobic and even if they were adequately resourced to do their job, they still couldn't be an international nonce force.
There's a lot wrong with the met police, but I don't think that one could say that this case (at least based on this news report) is one of them.
You make good points. I guess my surprise is that their processes to keep someone so dangerous in check have comprehensively failed and they just seem to have said 'sh.t happens'. Why was he able to avoiding signing on to the sex offenders register? How was he able to leave the country without notifying the authorities? I don't know if this is a Met screw-up or a border patrol screw-up or someone else's screw-up but it seems an indication that processes designed to protect the public are not working. Some acknowledgement of that along with some sign they are working to prevent this from happening again would be nice.
Gotta totally agree on that score. You'd think he would have to surrender his passport as the only way to guarantee that he can't leave the country without notifying the authorities. But I think that's the courts' jurisdiction to order such measures (I could well be wrong, but I'll bet disco would know who would be responsible for ordering that).
Had he stayed in the country, but not signed the register, you'd imagine they would have caught him (or at least tried to), since they did issue an arrest warrant for him.
I guess their thinking is, at least partly, 'if he's out of the country, then the UK public is protected', so there's nothing they need to do right now. Presumably since there's an active arrest warrant out for him, if he attempts to re-enter the UK then he'll be arrested immediately.

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Re: Met Police was (and still is) institutionally corrupt

Post by Woodchopper » Wed Mar 02, 2022 4:07 pm

Fishnut wrote:
Wed Mar 02, 2022 3:55 pm
You make good points. I guess my surprise is that their processes to keep someone so dangerous in check have comprehensively failed and they just seem to have said 'sh.t happens'. Why was he able to avoiding signing on to the sex offenders register? How was he able to leave the country without notifying the authorities? I don't know if this is a Met screw-up or a border patrol screw-up or someone else's screw-up but it seems an indication that processes designed to protect the public are not working. Some acknowledgement of that along with some sign they are working to prevent this from happening again would be nice.
In general, Britain is very bad at keeping track of people. The Border Force would have responsibility for preventing him from leaving the country. However, they don't check the identity of everyone leaving the UK. It looks like he left the country at the same time as he was supposed to sign the register. If so he was probably in Bulgaria before anyone was alerted to his not having signed the register.

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Re: Met Police was (and still is) institutionally corrupt

Post by IvanV » Thu Mar 03, 2022 6:37 pm

Woodchopper wrote:
Wed Mar 02, 2022 4:07 pm
In general, Britain is very bad at keeping track of people. The Border Force would have responsibility for preventing him from leaving the country. However, they don't check the identity of everyone leaving the UK. It looks like he left the country at the same time as he was supposed to sign the register. If so he was probably in Bulgaria before anyone was alerted to his not having signed the register.
And he was not even legally prevented from leaving the country, only from leaving the country without informing the authorities. So maybe he could have travelled to Bulgaria anyway after signing the register. People like Paul Gadd were not prevented from travelling abroad after signing the register. The difference is that the local authorities in the places he turned up in took exception to his activities. He was deported from Cambodia. Then served a sentence in Vietnam before being deported from there. And, returning here, he was tried for further offences and is now serving a 16 year sentence.

The Met have the power to investigate child abuse offences abroad. But mere investigation doesn't result in anything, when the alleged offender is abroad and the local authorities apparently do not seem to be bothered about it.

I would rather suspect that the reason that the Bulgarian authorities don't seem to care is that he is living in a Roma community. Even the British police tend to hold back from policing domestic and sexual abuse in Roma/traveller communities. See for example 2019 Report of Parliamentary Committee on Tackling inequalities faced by Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities, especially Chapter 9. The relations between authorities and Roma, as well as intercommunity relations, are considerably worse in most of those parts of central and SE Europe that have a material Roma community, than in Britain, poor as they are here.

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Re: Met Police was (and still is) institutionally corrupt

Post by temptar » Tue Mar 15, 2022 6:26 pm


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Re: Met Police was (and still is) institutionally corrupt

Post by Bird on a Fire » Tue Mar 15, 2022 8:25 pm

Jesus wept.

Four officers called to a school because a kid supposedly "smelled like weed". Taken out of an exam and subjected to an invasive and humiliating examination with no adults present - then put back in the exam.

WTAF was anybody involved in any part that process thinking?

Also "interesting" that it's not the first time weed has been the excuse for doing this kind of thing (if by "interesting" you mean "unsurprising given that its prohibition was always intended to be a means for racist authorities to harass people"). I can't help but think that, along with trying to reform the police, giving them a more humane drug policy to enforce in the first place might be a sensible move.
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Re: Met Police was (and still is) institutionally corrupt

Post by Bird on a Fire » Tue Mar 15, 2022 8:26 pm

Also, whichever morons at the school and police force can't distinguish between the smells of cannabis and menstruation really need a better connect, or at least some training.
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Re: Met Police was (and still is) institutionally corrupt

Post by Fishnut » Tue Mar 15, 2022 11:04 pm

I'm reading the report and figured I'd do a running commentary.

We start with an introduction, which seems to be more of a summary. We begin,
In 2020, Child Q, a Black female child of secondary school age, was strip searched by female police officers from the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS). The search, which involved the exposure of Child Q’s intimate body parts, took place on school premises, without an Appropriate Adult present and with the knowledge that Child Q was menstruating. [1.1, p2]
What terrible crime caused such a response?
Teachers told the review that on the day of the search they believed Child Q was smelling strongly of cannabis and suspected that she might be carrying drugs. [1.2, p2]
She smelt of pot. That's it. They searched her belongings, couldn't find anything and she denied using or possessing drugs, but that wasn't enough to satisfy the teachers so they ended up getting the police involved, who came to the school and proceeded to perform a strip search on her.
No Appropriate Adult was in attendance, teachers remained outside the room and Child Q’s mother was not contacted in advance. [1.5, p2]
When the child went home she told her mum what happened.
Due to the level of her distress, Child Q’s mother took her to the family GP who made a referral for psychological support. [1.6, p2-3]
Hackney Children and Family Services (CFS) were contacted and a Rapid Review was initiated by the City & Hackney Safeguarding Children Partnership (CHSCP). The report was submitted to the Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel in early 2021, who discouraged a local child safeguarding practice review (LCSPR) from taking place, saying,
we felt that this case was not notifiable and did not meet the criteria for an LCSPR. [1.7, p3]
I have to ask, if this is 'not notifiable' then what the hell is?

Fortunately, an LCSPR was initiated,
the overwhelming opinion was that Child Q had been exposed to a traumatic incident and had undoubtedly suffered harm... Given the context of where and how the search took place, it was impossible not to view these circumstances as anything other than the most serious and significant.

The incident also illustrated unambiguous issues of importance that warranted independent analysis, not least the potential impact of disproportionality and racism and how these factors might have influenced the actions of organisations and individual professionals. [1.9-1.10, p3]
The Terms of Reference for the review were,
• Was the rationale and practice to strip search Child Q sufficiently attuned to the rights of children as set out in the relevant articles of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child?

• Was practice involving Child Q sufficiently focused on her potential safeguarding needs?

• Is the law and policy, which informs local practice, properly defined in the context of identifying potential risk and furthermore, does law and policy create the conditions whereby practice itself can criminalise and cause significant harm to children?

It notes that the review is not about holding "individuals, organisations or agencies to account, as there are other processes for that purpose" [1.14, p4] and that there is an ongoing investigating by the Independent Officer for Police Conduct into the police officers [1.15, p5].

The review makes 8 findings and 14 recommendations which you can go read for yourselves [1.16, p5-6].

Background and Context
The review says it's keeping "information relating to the background and context of Child Q’s lived experience to a minimum" [2.1, p6] for three reasons - to maintain privacy, to allow for the review to be published, and because it's not relevant. It wants to be,
careful not to introduce a perception that there might be a ‘rationale’ to excuse the actions of some professionals based on who Child Q is, where she lives or what her family circumstances are. [2.2, p6]
That all seems fair enough.

In case there's any ambiguity,
The review is clear that the strip search of Child Q should never have happened and there was no reasonable justification for it. [2.3, p6] (my emphasis)
We then get a section of definitions, starting with 'strip search'.
Searches involving exposure of intimate parts of the body are where the person removes all or most of their clothing. They are, by definition, one of the most intrusive forms of search. As with searches involving less intrusion, they must only be used where it is necessary and reasonable, bearing in mind the object of the search.

Consultation with a supervisor is always required prior to such a search. [2.6-2.7, p7]
It notes that according to the PACE Code,
‘Searches involving exposure of intimate parts of the body must not be conducted as a routine extension of a less thorough search, simply because nothing is found in the course of the initial search. [2.7, p7]
We're onto The Day of the Incident [p8], and we start with the review noting that there's inconsistencies in accounts (which isn't that surprising), particularly around the initial conversations between the school and the police. It "believes it reasonable to infer" that the school was likely to know the police were going to search the girl, but unlikely to know they intended to strip search her; that the "importance of the Appropriate Adult role was insufficiently explained to either Child Q or the school staff present." [2.11, p9]; no evidence that the police contacted a supervisor as they were required to do; and no evidence that the girl resisted any of the searches she was subjected to or that there was any reason to suspect she was hiding drugs.

Next we have Previous Incidents of Concern. A month before she had been "similarly identified by the school as smelling of cannabis" and described as "intoxicated" by school staff. Her mother said she'd been studying late and "that accounted for her presentation". [2.12, p9] Despite this, the school's record log notes that both Child Q and her mother were told,
‘if this behaviour continues or that if she is found with weed/drugs on her she will not be able to continue her place with [the school].’ [2.13, p10]
Given her "behaviour" was due to working hard and she had no drugs on her this seems like a massive overreaction.

The School Context says that nothing like this has happened before at the school, and "in the 12 months prior to the incident" police hadn't been called to perform searches or because of suspicion of banned or illegal items. [2.16, p10]

Local Facts and Figures say that during 2020/2021,
25 children under the age of 18 were subject of ‘further searches’. 19 were male and 18 were handcuffed during the process... 2 (88%) of the searches were negative with an outcome of no further action recorded in 20 (80%) of the cases... 15 (60%) of the children searched were Black, 2 were White, 6 Asian and 2 Arab or North African. [2.18, p11]
'Further searches' is police code for strip search, though there are (as described in sections 2.6-2.8) different levels of strip search so it's unclear how many were as intimate as those experienced by Child Q.

Views of Child Q
A selection of comments
“...On the top of preparing for the most important exams of my life. I can't go a single day without wanting to scream, shout, cry or just give up.”

“I feel like I'm locked in a box, and no one can see or cares that I just want to go back to feeling safe again, my box is collapsing around me, and no-one wants to help.”

“I don’t know if I’m going to feel normal again. I don’t know how long it will take to repair my box. But I do know this can't happen to anyone, ever again.” [p11-12]
It's horrific.

Views of Moth and Maternal Aunt
The comments from her mother are equally heartbreaking, but this one in particular struck me for the callousness and indifference of the school staff,
“Child Q was searched by the police and was asked to go back into the exam without any teacher asking her about how she felt knowing what she had just gone through. Their position in the school is being part of the safeguarding team, but they were not acting as if they were a part of that team. This makes me sick - the fact that my child had to take her sanitary towel off and put the same dirty towel back on because they would not allow her to use the restroom to clean herself. I was also wondering if the officers body cameras were on while my child was stripped of her clothes, are they re-watching it?” [4.3, p13]
The comments also confirm that Child Q was 15 at the time.
"Do you think it is appropriate for a black girl to be search without a parent or family member, when I send my child to school, I expect teachers to act as a parental substitute. Would allow your child to be strip searched and questioned without consent or a guardian present, for a 15-year-old to be interrogated by multiple unnamed police officers.” [4.5, p13-14]
Among the aunt's comments was this one,
“Child Q was doing exceptionally well at school, top of the class and getting praised every day for her good work and good conduct. She was even the prefect of her year at one stage. She was progressing well, a happy go lucky child, well loved, and cared for. Then for whatever reason, cracks crept in and she appeared to be singled out by the teachers repeatedly for various things.” [4.7, p14]
and
“It is now being circulated in her school that [Child Q] is the big-time drugs seller.” [4.7, p15]
Findings and Recommendations
I really like how the review is not mincing its words,
It has been a relatively straightforward process for the review to conclude that Child Q should never have been strip searched. Across many of the professionals involved that day, there was an absence of a safeguarding first approach to their practice. There were other ways that this incident could and should have been managed, beyond the largely criminal justice response from the police and the disciplinary response from the school. [5.1, p15]
They say they are making two supplementary recommendations outside their Terms of Reference. That's unusual.

Oh, what a surprise,
5.3 Prior to addressing each of the questions as set out in the Terms of Reference, the review makes two supplementary recommendations.

5.4 The first, not relating to the experiences of Child Q, involves the LCSPR process itself. This has been made given the significant difficulties experienced by the review team in gaining direct access to the police officers involved in the case.

5.5 This was due to their practice being subject to a formal investigation by the IOPC... [5.3-5.5, p16]
Is that the Met covering its ass and using its disciplinary procedures as an excuse to not engage with outside investigations and protect its officers from any sort of sanction? Surely not.

Their first supplementary recommendation is that,
The Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel should engage the IOPC with a view to developing national guidance on the IOPC’s interface with the Local Child Safeguarding Practice Review process. As a minimum, this should set out the arrangements for securing cooperation, accessing key staff for interview and the requirements for the timely sharing of information. [5.5, p16]
Wow, the second recommendation is also about the Met,
The MPS should review and revise its recording system for stop and search to ensure it clearly identifies and allows for retrieval of the full range of activity under stop and search powers (including the ability to differentiate between the different types of strip searches undertaken). [5.6, p16]
Now we get onto its Review Questions.

Review Question 1: UNCRC Compliance
It's first finding is,
The school was fully compliant with expected practice standards when responding to its concerns about Child Q smelling of cannabis and its subsequent search of Child Q’s coat, bag, scarf and shoes. This demonstrated good curiosity by involved staff and an alertness to potential indicators of risk. [5.10, p17]
They have some good recommendations about revising the Department for Education's guidance [5.16-5.19, p19]

The second finding is,
The decision to strip search Child Q was insufficiently attuned to her best interests or right to privacy. p5.19, p19]
There's a thorough discussion about the need for an Appropriate Adult to be present and the lack of understanding of anyone involved to recognise that need, and they make recommendations to clarify police guidance and policy. I'm a bit surprised there's no mention of adding guidance for educators as this puts the onus on the police to know and communicate their obligations, without requiring schools to know what they are supposed to do in these sorts of situations.

Finding three is,
School staff deferred to the authority of the police on their arrival at school. They should have been more challenging to the police, seeking clarity about the actions they intended to take. All practitioners need to be mindful of their duties to uphold the best interests of children. [5.27, p21]
Maybe that's addressed now...

Oh diddums,
Many reflected their sadness and disappointment at what Child Q had experienced...
“This is the hardest thing that we’ve had to go through and for anyone to think that the school might be complicit is very stressful and difficult to deal with.” [5.28, p22]
Ok, here we are, Recommendation 5,
The CHSCP should review and revise its awareness raising and training content to ensure the Child Q case is referenced, with a specific focus on reinforcing the responsibilities of practitioners to advocate for and on behalf of the children they are working with / who are in their care. [5.28, p22]
I'd also add that schools should be better informed as to when to escalate things to the police and when not. Child Q had not previous issues with drugs (smelling of them once is not the same as possessing them) and a search found nothing. Why on earth would they think she not only had drugs on her, during an exam that by all accounts she had studied hard for, but had decided to stick them somewhere intimate while on her period?! She was using pads ffs, this likely isn't someone that comfortable with shoving stuff up herself.

Review Question 2 - Safeguarding Needs
I think I might be pre-empting the review again - this might be the section where they talk about escalation. Let's find out...

Christ almighty, this is the tip of a disgusting iceberg. They quote a 2014 Guardian article that reports,
4,638 children aged between 10 and 16 were asked to remove their clothes and then searched by police between April 2008 and the end of last year. Just over a third were released by police without charge. [5.31, p23]
and that,
This article also highlighted the attempts of Julian Huppert, a Liberal Democrat MP for Cambridge who unsuccessfully campaigned for children to be strip searched only if an adult other than police officers was present. [5.32, p23] [my emphasis]
f.cking hell - a 3015 report found that there was an "alarming increase" in children being strip searched by the police and that no Appropriate Adult was present in 45%.
In terms of the strip search of Child Q, practice that day appears to have been far too weighted towards a criminal justice response. This may be explained in part by the deference of school staff to the police. It might relate to the relative junior police staff involved or the fact that officers didn’t seek the advice of their supervisor. It might also relate to elements of disproportionality and racism leading those involved to make certain assumptions about Child Q and what response was required. [5.39, p24]
This tries to explain the deference given to the police once they arrived, but still doesn't explain why the school thought calling the police was a proportionate response to the situation of a student smelling of cannabis.

Ah, here we go,
It was also the lack of action taken after the strip search that shows Child Q was primarily being seen as ‘the risk’ as opposed to being ‘at risk’. Because of this, little to no thought was given as to whether a referral to external agencies might be required. Indeed, if the rationale to strip search Child Q was based on fears about exploitation, then it should have followed that this concern was escalated as a safeguarding referral19. As it was, Child Q was sent home in a taxi. [5.40, p24] [my emphasis]
She's not a teenage girl, she's a criminal.

Review Question 3 - Law and Policy
We get a brief digression into stop and search powers, though frustratingly there's no discussion of how they are used racially biased ways to target minorities. They do, however, recommend,
The MPS should engage The College of Policing to explore potential improvements to the guidance concerning reasonable grounds involving stop and search activity with children. [5.49, p27]
I wish they could go further and do this for adults too, but recognise the limitations of their ToR.

They look again at the Department for Education's guidance and say that it's not promoting good practice.

Wow,
as set out within PACE 1984, there is no specific requirement to gain parental consent prior to a strip search – even those that might involve the exposure of intimate parts of the body. For intimate searches, this position is different...

Both the review and the reference group struggled to understand the rationale behind these differing approaches to consent. On the face of it, the law appears to suggest that the requirement for a child to expose their intimate body parts is insufficiently significant to require their parents to be told it is going to happen.
5.53-5.54, p29]
The review notes, again, that Child Q was completely compliant with all the searches,
Child Q was fully compliant with the school’s search of her possessions and compliant with the request to be strip searched by the police. Whilst not advocating she should have been disruptive, she appeared unable to challenge any of the actions being undertaken and is unlikely to have known about what she could expect, even by way of procedure (i.e. such as the requirement for both her and an Appropriate Adult to agree and sign for the Appropriate Adult not to be present during the strip search). She responded in this way, despite being adamant that she had no drugs in her possession and being upset about not being allowed to take her mock examination. [5.57, p30]
The Safer Schools Police Officer (SSPO) was not around because of COVID restrictions and the review speculates that things might have gone differently had they been there.

Now we get to the nub of things. Racism. Finding eight,
Having considered the context of the incident, the views of those engaged in the review and the impact felt by Child Q and her family, racism (whether deliberate or not) was likely to have been an influencing factor in the decision to undertake a strip search. [5.63, p32]
Oh, this is interesting,
In framing the rationale for this finding, the review has intentionally avoided the use of ‘unconscious bias’. In the opinion of both the review and its reference group, as a term, this somewhat excuses the actions of those involved. It gives the perception that agencies and its practitioners aren’t accountable for what they say or do and that they are unable to pause, reflect and consciously control their actions. It similarly suggests that the behaviour and culture within organisations can’t be changed. The review disagrees. [5.67, p33]
They are being as clear as they possibly can,
Indeed, the review and reference panel held a firm view that had Child Q not been Black, then her experiences are unlikely to have been the same. This view is broadly supported when looking at the disproportionality evidenced in a previous inspection of custody suites in the MPS. Undertaken by HMICFRS and HM Inspectorate of Prisons in 201829, this inspection found clear evidence of a disproportionate approach in this area of practice.

‘Force data indicated that the numbers of strip searches were high and included many children and a significantly higher proportion of black and minority ethnic detainees compared against the overall throughput. We concluded that overall not all strip searches were warranted or properly justified.’ [5.69-5.70, p33 [my emphasis]
I think I'm going to struggle not to simply quote this whole section. I will try and restrain myself but urge you to read it.
one feature believed to have a significance to the experience of Child Q is that of adultification bias. This concept is where adults perceive Black children as being older than they are. It is ‘a form of bias where children from Black, Asian and minoritised ethnic communities are perceived as being more ‘streetwise’, more ‘grown up’, less innocent and less vulnerable than other children. This particularly affects Black children, who might be viewed primarily as a threat rather than as a child who needs support’...

In reflecting on how adultification bias might have been evident in practice with Child Q, this can be seen in the fact that she received a largely criminal justice and disciplinary response from the adults around her, ‘rather than a child protection response’. This firmly echoes the findings of Davis and Marsh, 202032. The review believes there to be a high level of probability that practitioners were influenced in this regard. The disproportionate decision to strip search Child Q is unlikely to have been disconnected from her ethnicity and her background as a child growing up on an estate in Hackney. [5.71, 5.73, p34]
That's it.

TL:DR - a 15 year old black girl, who from everything I can tell was a good student with nothing except stigma to suggest that she was a troublemaker, had been accused of smelling of cannabis and searched but her teachers found nothing. They then accused her of being 'intoxicated' and threatened to exclude her if she was ever found with drugs or if her "behaviour" continued - that behaviour more likely arising from being tired due to studying late the night before.

During her mock exam a teacher said she smelt of cannabis again, pulled her out of the exam, searched her belongings and found nothing so contacted the Safer Schools Police Officer who was absent from the school due to COVID restrictions. They suggested the school call the police, who duly attended, took the girl to the medical room and performed an intimate strip search. They denied her access to the bathroom, despite asking to go and being on her period. From what I can tell, after the search (which unsurprisingly found nothing) she was sent back to complete her exam, and ended up being sent home in a taxi where she told her mother what happened who promptly took her to the doctor who got social services involved.

The authorities initially tried to reject that anything serious had happened. The police refused to cooperate claiming it would interfere with their own investigations. The review published today is damning but it's likely that few (if any) consequences will be faced by those who caused the situation and a young girl is left deeply traumatised with her future in tatters.

Great job all round.
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Re: Met Police was (and still is) institutionally corrupt

Post by Allo V Psycho » Wed Mar 16, 2022 9:10 am

Thank you for the excellent summary, Fishnut. It is appalling.

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Re: Met Police was (and still is) institutionally corrupt

Post by jimbob » Wed Mar 16, 2022 10:23 am

+1
Have you considered stupidity as an explanation

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Re: Met Police was (and still is) institutionally corrupt

Post by temptar » Wed Mar 16, 2022 11:53 am

Fishnut, thanks for reading the report in detail.

It is worth pointing out that using menstruation to humiliate women is not shocking to me because it is basically a tool in the toolbox. Denying women in cells sanitary protection was already standard practice in Northern Ireland. Doing it to a 15 year old girl that you dragged out of an exam is unfathomable to me. The comments about adultification are also highly concerning but not surprising.

I think perhaps a warrant should be required for strip searching st a minimum.

Not clear to me whether the officers were male or female btw, but possibly I missed tgatdetail.

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Re: Met Police was (and still is) institutionally corrupt

Post by Bird on a Fire » Wed Mar 16, 2022 11:55 am

The officer performing the strip search was female, not sure about the other 3.

ETA and yes, thanks Fishnut for the detailed summary. It's an impressively strongly-worded report into a depressing incident.
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Re: Met Police was (and still is) institutionally corrupt

Post by Lew Dolby » Wed Mar 16, 2022 12:40 pm

She is (or was at the time) still a child legally. Isn't child abuse still a crime ??
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Re: Met Police was (and still is) institutionally corrupt

Post by Bird on a Fire » Wed Mar 16, 2022 1:26 pm

Lew Dolby wrote:
Wed Mar 16, 2022 12:40 pm
She is (or was at the time) still a child legally. Isn't child abuse still a crime ??
Not when the cops do it.
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Re: Met Police was (and still is) institutionally corrupt

Post by IvanV » Wed Mar 16, 2022 2:22 pm

Fishnut wrote:
Tue Mar 15, 2022 11:04 pm
This tries to explain the deference given to the police once they arrived, but still doesn't explain why the school thought calling the police was a proportionate response to the situation of a student smelling of cannabis.
Many thanks for your post. I also skim-read the report.

The failure to address that question was the biggest thing that struck me about this report. A very glaring omission. That seemed to be the point in the process where proportionality and common sense went completely out of the window. And from there it was downhill all the way. And no one has said anything about it.

For all that this is about the egregious behaviour of the police, it never would have happened without the egregious behaviour of the school.

As another news article today reminds us, there are also indications of persistent racism in places we might in general think were less resistant than the Met to addressing it.

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Re: Met Police was (and still is) institutionally corrupt

Post by bagpuss » Wed Mar 16, 2022 3:05 pm

IvanV wrote:
Wed Mar 16, 2022 2:22 pm
Fishnut wrote:
Tue Mar 15, 2022 11:04 pm
This tries to explain the deference given to the police once they arrived, but still doesn't explain why the school thought calling the police was a proportionate response to the situation of a student smelling of cannabis.
Many thanks for your post. I also skim-read the report.

The failure to address that question was the biggest thing that struck me about this report. A very glaring omission. That seemed to be the point in the process where proportionality and common sense went completely out of the window. And from there it was downhill all the way. And no one has said anything about it.

For all that this is about the egregious behaviour of the police, it never would have happened without the egregious behaviour of the school.

As another news article today reminds us, there are also indications of persistent racism in places we might in general think were less resistant than the Met to addressing it.
The report does say that someone known to her had previously been excluded from the school for drugs and that played a role in the school contacting the police. Although it doesn't say whether this was a friend or family, something about the way the report said her background was not going to be covered, makes me think that it may have been a sibling rather than friend but that is pure conjecture.

However, I still don't see how, in the case of a 15 year old girl, any of this is sufficient justification to call the police. In fact, it merely provides an explanation as to how she may have been smelling of cannabis without having consume any herself or had any in her possession, if a sibling had been smoking it in their home.

Everything I've read here indicates that the teachers may have had some basis for concerns about her welfare that could quite reasonably have led to conversations with the girl and her parent(s) to ensure that she was OK. But I see nothing that would give any kind of cause to call the police at this stage.

FFS, if you are the manager of an adult who comes in to work under the influence of drugs or alcohol, you are supposed to treat it as a welfare issue. Talk to them to find out what is going on, if they have any underlying problems, if you can help in any way. How much more so should this be the case for a 15yo girl. I cannot begin to get my head round what was going on in the minds of those teachers/school staff. The responsibility for the strip search seems to lie clearly with the police but the school bear the responsibility for calling the police in in the first place.

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Re: Met Police was (and still is) institutionally corrupt

Post by Woodchopper » Thu Mar 17, 2022 9:44 am

This is appalling, thanks to fishnut and everyone else for your comments.

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Re: Met Police was (and still is) institutionally corrupt

Post by Bird on a Fire » Thu Mar 17, 2022 1:13 pm

Diane Abbot (who I assume is the girl's MP) in the Graun wrote a decent piece, including this quote:
A recent interview with Hampshire deputy chief constable, Maggie Blyth, who is now the national lead for violence against women and girls for the National Police Chiefs’ Council, is revealing in this context. She said the concept of a “few bad apples” is wrong and that policing, like other jobs with access to power, could attract people who wanted to “use their power in a corrupt and criminal way.”

She added: “There will be some attracted into working in policing because of the powers that it offers them, the powers to exert and coerce other people, particularly vulnerable individuals. I think we shouldn’t be naive to that.”
https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfr ... m-misogyny

Good to see the "bad apple" narrative getting pushback from within the police too.

Also:
The Hackney schoolgirl was failed in so many ways. The police abused her and no teacher thought to contact her parents, to ask the girl afterwards how she was: certainly they don’t seem to have grasped the gravity of this awful situation.
I agree with this. I think society as a whole needs to realise the the cops are not our friends. Being policed is traumatising. Calling the police - especially on a vulnerable person, or a person of colour - carries a serious risk of causing lasting damage to that person. Is it worth it?
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Re: Met Police was (and still is) institutionally corrupt

Post by plodder » Thu Mar 17, 2022 1:20 pm

A mate who is a (non-Met) copper speaks of morale being at absolute rock bottom, with people constantly leaving due to a combination of huge amounts of b.llsh.t paperwork and a frankly toxic environment created by untouchable racist/appalling old timers. Workloads are therefore through the roof (like 50 or 60 live cases each) and therefore there's no job satisfaction or hope of a fix in the short term.

I think most coppers are well meaning with good intentions and the reality is that it can be a really sh.t job. If I was told my employer was racist that would have an effect on my morale. Not really signally anything but thought it worth mentioning.

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Re: Met Police was (and still is) institutionally corrupt

Post by EACLucifer » Thu Mar 17, 2022 2:28 pm

Woodchopper wrote:
Thu Mar 17, 2022 9:44 am
This is appalling, thanks to fishnut and everyone else for your comments.
Seconding this. There's very little I can add here except outrage.

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Re: Met Police was (and still is) institutionally corrupt

Post by El Pollo Diablo » Sat Mar 19, 2022 3:02 am

In terms of the school contacting the police, my sense from reading the earlier part of the report is that this is an expected behaviour in terms of government advice, if teachers believe that a student is in contact with drugs. Might have misunderstood that, but one of the main conclusions of the report was that the teachers were right to contact the police and doing so constituted good curiosity about the situation.

Not saying I agree with any of that, btw.
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Re: Met Police was (and still is) institutionally corrupt

Post by JQH » Sun Mar 20, 2022 11:04 pm

Even if that was the case, I think that a little more evidence than "I thought I smelled weed" would be required.
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