Four Metropolitan Police officers have been told they have no case to answer for misconduct following a complaint made by a man who was subject to a stop and search.
The complaint was received after the man was stopped and searched in a car in Walworth Road, SE17, on Tuesday, 5 May 2020.
After the Met received the complaint, they referred it to the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC), who then carried out an independent investigation.
Three officers, based at Central South BCU, were served with gross misconduct notices, and another was served with a misconduct notice. It is understood that the officers were removed from frontline duties, pending the outcome of the investigation.
However, following the investigation – which lasted several months – the IOPC found no evidence that officers racially profiled the complainant.
The IOPC also found that the officers had reasonable grounds to stop and search the male lawfully and that decision to make the stop was based on local intelligence, including knowledge of drug dealing and gang activity at the location.
During the investigation, it transpired that the male’s car was parked in a quiet street in a high crime area and drove off – at speed – when approached by officers.
The investigation also found via body-worn video footage that the officers did not know who was in the car before it was stopped, as it had tinted windows.
As a result, none of the officers had a case to answer for misconduct or gross misconduct.
However, the IOPC recommended that the officers be subject to what it calls ‘reflective practice’ for making ‘disrespectful comments’ about the male during private conversations and whilst not in the male’s presence.
The IOPC also recommended that the officers should be made to go through ‘reflective practice’ for not challenging the comments which were made during the private conversations between them which took place after the incident.
The officers were also forced to attend a ‘community stop and search’ event where individuals who have been stopped and searched tells officers how such searches make them feel.
The Met accepted the IOPCs recommendations.
A spokesperson for the Metropolitan Police Federation said:
‘“Police officers have no issue with being held accountable for their actions – we are the most accountable of public services.
“All we would call for is that those that scrutinise our actions with the benefit of hindsight do so in a timely manner and always take into account the dynamic reality of policing the streets of London.”
Following the incident, a senior officer from Central South BCU met with the driver of the vehicle. He has since led a stop and search workshop for new recruits and continues to work with the Met.
It is unknown whether the male is paid for this work or whether it is carried out voluntarily. Emergency Services News contact the Met for clarification but, at the time of publishing this article, we have not heard back from the Met’s media team.
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