The Metropolitan Police (Met) has referred itself to the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) following a stop that its officers carried out in Lanhill Road, W9, over the weekend.
Officers from the Met’s Territorial Support Group (TSG) noticed a vehicle with blacked-out windows which was being driven erratically in Maida Vale.
Officers were patrolling the area after an increase in violent crime.
Officers spotted a vehicle with tinted windows being driven on the wrong side of the road. As they attempted to catch up with the car, it made off from them at speed.
The vehicle came to a stop, and after a few seconds, the TSG caught up with it.
Officers exited the police carrier not knowing who was inside the vehicle or whether it might attempt to make off from them again.
Inside the car was Bianca Williams and her partner along with their 11-month-old son.
Ms Williams recorded the point at which officers tried to secure the vehicle and its occupants on her mobile phone before uploading the footage to social media.
Shortly after the incident, the Met released the following statement:
‘At around 13:25hrs on Saturday, 4th July, officers from the Territorial Support Group were patrolling in the W9 area in response to an increase in violence involving weapons.
‘Officers witnessed a vehicle that was being driven in a manner that raised suspicion, heavily braking and accelerating, which included driving on the wrong side of the road.
‘They indicated for it to stop, but it failed to do so and accelerated off.
‘The officers caught up with the vehicle when it stopped on Lanhill Road.
‘The driver initially refused to get out of the car.
‘The occupants, a 25-year-old man and a 26-year-old woman, were informed that they were being detained for the purposes of a search under Section 1 of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984.
‘They were both handcuffed due to the officers’ views, which took into account the manner in which the vehicle was being driven, that the vehicle was attempting to evade police, and due to the driver refusing to leave his vehicle.
‘Following a search of the vehicle, the man and the woman, nothing was found. No arrests were made, and the occupants were allowed on their way.
‘Police are aware of a video circulating on social media showing part of the stop.
‘Each stop is dealt with on its own merits at the discretion of the individual officers involved, taking into account various aspects including behaviour and compliance.
‘Officers have to make these judgement calls regularly on a daily basis, often in difficult circumstances in areas suffering from violence and knife crime where proactive policing is a priority.
‘They understand that their actions will be scrutinised as they go about their work and that the public have the right to hold them to account where appropriate.
‘Officers from the Directorate of Professional Standards carried out both reviews and are satisfied there are no misconduct issues for any officer involved.
‘The Independent Office for Police Contact are aware of this matter and have asked for information from the MPS to make an assessment about the level of their involvement. We are offering every assistance.
‘We have not received an official complaint about the matter from the occupants of the vehicle but are aware of media and social media commentary’.
Yesterday evening (7th July) a spokesperson for the Met said:
‘Following a vehicle stop on Saturday, 4th July in Lanhill Road, W9, the Metropolitan Police Service has today, Tuesday 7th July, made a voluntary referral to the Independent Office for Police Conduct.
‘We have now recorded this incident as a public complaint.
‘The decision to refer to the IOPC has been taken due to the complaint being recorded and the significant public interest in this matter and we welcome independent scrutiny of the facts.
‘Two reviews of the circumstances by the Met’s Directorate of Professional Standards have not identified misconduct for any officer involved.
‘The IOPC has now launched an independent investigation into the incident’.
IOPC Regional Director Sal Naseem said:
“Ensuring the public have confidence in policing through independent scrutiny is a vital part of our role. We are independently investigating a stop and search incident that took place in Maida Vale, London, on Saturday 4th July. Partial video footage of the incident was widely shared on social media.
“We made further enquiries with the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS), who have now recorded a complaint and a voluntary referral has been made to us.
“We will be independently examining whether the use of stop and search on this occasion was appropriate and proportionate in line with approved police policies. We will also investigate if racial profiling or discrimination played a part in the incident.”
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