BIn two years, more than 600 children and young people have been strip-searched by London police officers. More than 95 percent of the minors affected were male, and 58 percent of them were black, according to a report by England’s Child Welfare Commissioner Rachel de Souza released on Monday. De Souza was “deeply shocked” by the numbers.
De Souza requested the data from London Police after the headlined case of a 15-year-old black woman falsely suspected of drug possession being forced to undress in front of police officers despite knowing she was on her period.
According to the report, a total of 650 minors between the ages of 10 and 17 were strip searched between 2018 and 2020. In 23 percent of the cases, an impartial adult was not present.
“Systemic problems in child protection”
De Souza said he was “extremely concerned” about the disproportionately high proportion of black people affected. Apparently there are also “systemic problems with child protection” with the London police. The number of minors searched in this “obtrusive and traumatizing” way has also risen sharply every year, criticized the child protection officer.
London Police, in response to the report, said changes had already been introduced to ensure minors were strip searched “with appropriate and respectful treatment”.
The London police had recently been shaken by a series of scandals surrounding racism, sexism and misogyny. Police chief Cressida Dick resigned in February.