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Met officers under investigation after black teenager stopped and searched six times in five months

 (PA Wire)
(PA Wire)

The police watchdog has launched an investigation into eight police officers after a black teenager was stopped and searched six times in five months in London.

The boy, 16, was stopped and searched by police between January and May 2023 across Tottenham and Stratford.

No further action was taken each time.

Haringey Independent Stop and Search Monitoring Group made complaints to the Met on behalf of the boy and his mother in April and June 2023.

The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) launched an investigation after it received a mandatory referral from the Met in September 2023.

The complaints include allegations that there were insufficient grounds for the stop and searches.

The investigation will also look at possible racial profiling by the officers as well as unreasonable force.

It will also look at whether the officers failed to consider the boy's welfare and policing procedures were not consistently followed, the IOPC said in a statement.

Four of the searches involved Territorial Support Group (TSG) police.

The other two incidents involved local borough patrol officers.

During the incidents, the child was told he was being searched on suspicion of drugs or theft, and reportedly matched descriptions of people carrying out robberies and knife crime in the area, the IOPC said.

The watchdog has reviewed body worn video footage from the officers and also the written records outlining the reasons for the stop and search.

In five of the six incidents, the IOPC said it identified evidence indicating potential breaches of the police standards of professional behaviour.

Seven MPS officers are under investigation for potential gross misconduct and an eighth officer is being investigated for potential misconduct, the IOPC said.

Charmaine Arbouin, IOPC director, said: "The concerning allegations raised in the complaint - which include racial profiling of a child and insufficient grounds for stopping and searching them six times in five months - are issues that we know disproportionately affect Black and other minority ethnic communities and erode public confidence in policing.

"It's therefore essential that we carry out an investigation - independent of the police - to look at each of these incidents and the actions and decision-making of the officers involved.

"We will continue to keep those involved updated as our investigation progresses."

The IOPC said that an investigation does not necessarily mean that disciplinary proceedings will follow.

Commander Nick John, from the Met's Directorate of Professional Standards, pledged that the Met would fully comly with the investigation.

He said: "Given the seriousness of these allegations it is important that we understand exactly what has happened in each of these interactions.

"We want to increase trust in our communities, both in how we tackle crime and the way in which we interact with the public. Any complaint received by the Met is taken extremely seriously."