Several hundred youngsters had been subjected to strip searches in London over the past two years, newly launched figures expose.
Data displays that 650 youngsters elderly 10 to 17 underwent the apply between 2018 and 2020.
Dame Rachel de Souza, the Children’s Commissioner for England, stated she used to be “deeply shocked” that such a lot of children have been searched this fashion.
“In a strip search, your most intimate parts are searched,” stated de Souza. “For any child, that’s going to be traumatic and concerning.”
The knowledge additionally unearths ethnic disparities, added De Souza.
She stated 58% of youngsters strip-searched over the two-year length had been black, regardless of simply 19% of 10-17 year-olds in the United Kingdom capital having this ethnicity.
The commissioner additionally discovered that during just about 1 / 4 of circumstances the hunt happened with out the presence of a 3rd grownup.
More than part of the searches didn’t result in a prosecution, with Dame de Souza announcing they had been most certainly no longer “warranted or necessary in all cases”.
The commissioner introduced her investigation following well-liked outrage over the case of Child Q, a 15-year-old black schoolgirl who used to be strip-searched at her college in east London.
She used to be wrongly suspected of wearing hashish.
The strip seek precipitated days of protests in Hackney after it emerged the schoolgirl used to be searched with out every other grownup provide and with the data that she used to be menstruating. Her oldsters weren’t contacted.
In the United Kingdom, this can be a criminal requirement for a suitable grownup to be provide all the way through the strip seek of a kid, excluding in pressing scenarios.
A Child Protective Services document into the incident concluded that the hunt will have to “never” have taken position and that “racism (whether or not planned or no longer) used to be most probably a contributing issue.”
Strip searches on females are rare in the UK, with 19 out of 20 performed on males.
De Souza said her findings showed the case of Child Q was not a one-off.
“I am not reassured that what happened to Child Q was an isolated issue, but instead believe it may be a particularly concerning example of a more systemic problem around child protection within the Metropolitan Police,” she stated.
“I remain unconvinced that the Metropolitan Police is consistently considering children’s welfare and wellbeing.”
She additionally expressed worry about “holes in the data” recorded via London’s police pressure.
“For about one in five of the strip-searched, they can’t even tell me where they took place, so the data collection needs to be better,” de Souza stated.
In a observation, the Metropolitan Police stated it’s “progressing at pace” to verify youngsters topic to intrusive searches are handled respectfully.
It added new measures were presented requiring an inspector to offer authority earlier than a seek takes position.