To make sure you never miss out on your favourite NEW stories, we're happy to send you some reminders
Click 'OK' then 'Allow' to enable notifications
| Last updated
Racism has been cited as an 'influencing factor' after a black schoolgirl was strip searched by police at a school in London, without parental consent and without an appropriate adult present.
The 15-year-old, known as Child Q, was subjected to the 'traumatic' search, which took place in the knowledge that she was menstruating, and involved the teenager having to expose intimate body parts.
Details of what happened during the incident, which took place in December 2020, have been reported in a child safeguarding review by Hackney council.
According to statements made by family members, Child Q "was made to bend over, spread her legs, use her hands to spread her buttocks cheek whilst coughing."
Her maternal aunt added: “She is now self-harming and requires therapy. She is traumatised and is now a shell of the bubbly child she was before this incident.”
Police were called to the school after teachers suspected the child could have been carrying drugs after detecting a smell of cannabis. No drugs were found during the search.
Four officers arrived, including two females who strip searched Child Q while teachers remained outside.
“Someone walked into the school, where I was supposed to feel safe, took me away from the people who were supposed to protect me and stripped me naked, while on my period,” Child Q said.
The report has cited racism as a likely influencing factor.
“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," it reads.
Earlier this week, the Met Police apologised for Child Q's “truly regrettable” treatment, which is also the subject of an Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) investigation.
Det Supt Dan Rutland, of the Met's Central East Command, said: "We recognise that the findings of the safeguarding review reflect this incident should never have happened.
"It is truly regrettable and on behalf of the Met Police I would like to apologise to the child concerned, her family and the wider community."
The council has vehemently criticised the Met, as well as the school's 'lack of challenging' towards the force.
Mayor of Hackney, Philip Glanville, alongside deputy mayor Anntoinette Bramble - also cabinet member for children’s services - said: “All aspects of this review have appalled us: the decision by police officers to strip search a child in her school; the lack of challenge by the school toward police; the absence of requirements of police to seek parental consent in the strip search of a child.
“But most stark: that racism is likely to have been an ‘influencing factor’ in the decision by police to undertake the strip search.”
Child Q's mum added: “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.”
People are horrified following the publication of the report, with one person writing on Twitter: "Black schoolgirl strip searched by police after being wrongly suspected of carrying cannabis. No other adults present. At school. On her period. A strip search on a minor for CANNABIS?"
While another said: "No words. Utterly degrading."
A third added: "This ac brought me to tears I am so fed up of seeing black girls dehumanised over and over again. How could this have happened at school. How is this ALLOWED?! What could possibly warrant the strip search of a literal child?!"
Featured Image Credit: Alamy
Chosen for YouChosen for You
Most Read StoriesMost Read