UK: Study suggests racist searches by police

UK: Study suggests racist searches by police

The strip search of a black schoolgirl for drugs has prompted a study into British police and searches. The result confirms allegations that the police are already confronted with.

The British police have again been accused of racial discrimination and humiliation. Police officers carried out a total of 2,847 strip searches of children and young people aged 10 to 17 in England and Wales between 2018 and mid-2022, according to a report released on Monday by Child Welfare Officer Rachel de Souza. In terms of the proportion of the population, it was six times more likely that black children were being checked. In more than half of the cases no adult confidant was present, in 95 percent boys were affected.

De Souza spoke of “evidence of a deeply concerning practice” with “widespread non-compliance” with legal protections. She criticized that children and young people were being abandoned by those who had to protect them.

Strip search of a young person reason for study

The investigation was commissioned after a 15-year-old black student was forced to strip and searched for drugs at her London school – even though she was on her period. The parents had not been informed and no teachers were present. Drugs were not found.

The Church of England charity, The Children’s Society, said the results showed that black children were disproportionately exposed to “this traumatising and intrusive practice.” The charity Runnymede Trust called for the strip search powers of the police to be removed. “Negative, tyrannical encounters with state institutions only breed further distrust and are the reason police fail in our communities,” the organization said. Just a week ago, an investigative report by the London police accused them of being institutionally racist.

Drug suspicion most common reason

In the vast majority of cases (86 percent), those being searched are suspected of having drugs with them. 9 percent revolve around guns and 2 percent around theft. In almost a quarter of the cases, the suspected objects were not found.

Source: Stern

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