UPDATE following apology offered to Child Q in Hackney
Commander Dr Alison Heydari of the Met’s Frontline Policing said: “While we await the findings of the IOPC investigation, we have already taken action to ensure that our officers and staff have a refreshed understanding of the policy for conducting a ‘further search’ and advice around dealing with schools, ensuring that children are treated as children.
“Alongside this, local officers have been briefed on the incident and are alive to community concerns. The report and its recommendations have been shared with our Specialist Crime Review Group and our Continuous Policing Improvement Command to ensure that all opportunities for wider learning are acted on immediately.
“We are in full agreement with the Safeguarding Review that this incident should never have happened. It is truly regrettable and on behalf of the Met I reiterate our apology to the child concerned, her family and the wider community.”
The search took place on Thursday, 3 December 2020, when police were called to a school where staff were concerned that a 15-year-old girl smelled strongly of cannabis and may have been in possession of drugs.
The child’s bag and outer clothing had already been searched by staff at the school prior to police arrival with no drugs found.
Two female officers conducted a further search of the girl in the medical room at the school under Section 23 of the Misuse of Drugs Act.
No force was used and no drugs were located.
The search was not undertaken in the presence of an appropriate adult.
Information was provided to the child’s family to support any complaint they wish to make against the Metropolitan Police Service. A complaint was subsequently received and was referred to the Independent Office for Police Conduct in May 2021 for investigation.
A Local Child Safeguarding Practice Review in relation to the search was published on Monday, 14 March.