The Metropolitan Police has released a statement after their officers were accused of ‘racial profiling’ following a stop and search that was carried out in Maida Vale, London, over the weekend.
At around 13:12 hours on Saturday 4th July, officers from the Met’s Territorial Support Group (TSG) were patrolling in the W9 area of London.
These directed patrols were in response to an increase in reported violence in the area involving weapons.
Officers from the TSG are often directed to patrol areas where there has been a spike in crimes, particularly violent ones.
While on patrol, officers noticed that a vehicle was being driven on the wrong side of the road.
Officers then attempted to stop the vehicle, but it made off from them “at speed”. The car had tinted windows, so the officers could not see the occupants of the vehicle.
Officers managed to catch up with the fleeing vehicle when it finally stopped on Lanhill Road.
When officers spoke to the driver, he refused to get out of the vehicle.
Officers then informed the occupants, a 25-year-old man and a 26-year-old woman, that they were being detained for the purposes of a search under Section 1 of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984.
Nothing was found during the search, and no arrests were made with only words of advice being given regarding the manner of their driving.
A video clip of the stop has been uploaded to social media, which only appears to show the moment when officers tried to engage with the occupants of the vehicle in an attempt to get them out of the car.
As the vehicle had already made off from officers, they were prepared to respond appropriately should the vehicle make off from them again.
Officers explained to the female recording the footage that she was being detained under Section 1 of PACE after the vehicle ‘made off from [the] police’.
A spokesperson for the Met Police said:
“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 daily, often in difficult circumstances.
“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 have reviewed both footage from social media, and the body-worn video of the officers and are satisfied that there is no concern around the officers’ conduct”.
Commander for Central West BCU Helen Harper said:
“I understand the concern when incidents like this happen and how they can appear when part of it is filmed without context.
“Due to the concern raised, we conducted a review of the stop. This included social media footage and body-worn camera footage of the officers at the scene. We are satisfied that there are no misconduct issues.
“The officers were deployed to a high violence area of London, and the manner of the driving raised suspicion, it is only right that they act on it.
“We are open to discussing the incident with the individuals involved if they wish to do so.”
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