Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC - formerly IPCC)
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IOPC upholds driver’s racial profiling complaint against the Met

Three Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) officers are to face a gross misconduct hearing after an Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) investigation upheld a driver’s complaint that he was racially profiled during a stop and search in Lewisham, south east London. 

On 13 May 2020, police from the MPS Taskforce asked the 32-year-old driver to get out of his vehicle in Rokeby Road, SE4. He was placed in handcuffs and searched by an officer under the Misuse of Drugs Act. The man’s car was searched by two further officers. No drugs were seized, the man was not arrested, and no further action was taken.

Our investigation, which was completed in March, began after we notified the MPS that we required them to refer the matter to us. The driver also made a complaint that he had been racially stereotyped, detained and searched due to his race and appearance, and that when requested, officers failed to provide their badge numbers and a receipt for the search.

The officers denied any racial profiling had taken place and stated that they had a lawful reason to stop the driver.

We found that three officers had a case to answer for gross misconduct for breaching standards of professional behaviour for honesty and integrity in respect of an account given by one of them of the incident, and grounds provided by the other two to justify searching the car. We also found that one of the officers had a case to answer for breaching standards of equality and diversity and have directed the force to hold a hearing for all three.

Our investigation also found that a further officer had a case to answer for misconduct for breaches of authority, respect and courtesy, and of duties and responsibilities. We have directed the MPS to hold a misconduct meeting for the officer concerned.

IOPC Regional Director Sal Naseem said: “Stop and search is an important policing tool, but it is an intrusive power and affects the trust and confidence that Black communities have in the police service. It is vital it is used with care. Our investigation found evidence indicative of racial bias on the part of one officer and further breaches of standards of professional behaviour by all three. They will now have to answer those allegations at a disciplinary hearing which we have directed to be held.”

During our investigation we took statements from the officers involved and reviewed body worn video footage.

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