London police criticized for the extent and discriminatory nature of their practice of strip searches of minors

After the turmoil created by the full search inflicted in 2020 on a 15-year-old black teenager, the Children’s Commissioner for England, Rachel de Souza, asked Scotland Yard for statistics on these practices in London. And the children’s commissioner, responsible for defending the rights of children, expressed, Monday, August 8, its concern at the extent of the use of strip searches on minors by the police of the English capital.

According to figures made public on Monday, between 2018 and 2020, around 650 young people aged 10 to 17 were subjected to this type of body search. They mainly concern black teenagers since more than 95% were boys and 58% of young people (all genders combined) were described by the police as being black.

In 23% of cases, the search took place without the presence of a third adult, as required by law except in cases of emergency. More than half of these searches resulted in no prosecution, leading the Children’s Commissioner to believe that they may not be either. “justified or necessary in all cases”.

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Rachel de Souza said to herself “deeply shocked” speak “number of children who are submitted” each year to this practice “intrusive and traumatic”and “deeply concerned” by the discrimination brought to light.

Succession of resounding scandals

In response, London police said they “progressed rapidly in his work” so that “Children who are subject to these intrusive practices are treated appropriately and respectfully” and she highlighted changes that have already been undertaken.

The question arose in the United Kingdom after the search inflicted in 2020 on a black teenager in the infirmary of her school. It had been carried out by two policewomen, without the presence of a third adult and while the girl was on her period. Wrongly suspected of having concealed cannabis, the young girl had been deeply traumatized by this affair, at the origin of several demonstrations.

A Child Protective Services report concluded in March that such a search would not have ” never “ should have taken place and that the “racism (whether deliberate or not) was likely a factor influencing the decision” to lead it.

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Attached to the notion of consensus with the population, the police in London have been shaken by a succession of resounding scandals, which have led to a crisis of confidence and the resignation of its chief Cressida Dick, replaced by the former chief of police British counter-terrorism Mark Rowley.

The World with AFP


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