Equality watchdog raises concern over Metropolitan Police use of strip searches on under 18s

Published: 26 Jul 2023

In March 2023, a report by the Children’s Commissioner highlighted that ‘strip searches of children under stop and search powers have a pronounced and deeply concerning ethnic disproportionality’.  

The Commissioner recommended that police forces commit to working with the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) in order to deliver necessary reforms.  

The EHRC has now written to the Metropolitan Police Service (Met) due to its concerns about the number of children and young people being strip searched, particularly those who are Black.   

To address these concerns, the EHRC has requested further information from the Met on their use of stop and search, particularly on any disproportionate impact on Black people.  

Baroness Kishwer Falkner, Chairwoman of the Equality and Human Rights Commission said:  

“As Britain’s equality regulator, it is our responsibility to promote equality and challenge discrimination to ensure the rights of everyone in Britain are protected.  

“Since the concerning case of Child Q last year, we have been in contact with the Children’s Commissioner and police regulators about the apparent racial disproportionality of children being strip searched by the force.  

“We have requested information and statistical data from the Met to inform us in taking forward our statutory responsibilities. We are particularly interested in the number of searches conducted on children and young people under 18s since 2018.  

“The Met’s response will determine whether the Commission needs to take any further regulatory action to protect the rights of everyone in Britain.” 

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