UK Metropolitan police strip searched more than 4,500 children in five years
March 17, 2014 Source: The Guardian
More than 4,500 children as young as 10 have been strip searched by the Metropolitan police over the past five years, data released under the Freedom of Information Act shows.
The figures obtained by the Guardian show 4,638 children aged between 10 and 16 were asked to remove their clothes and then searched by police between April 2008 and the end of last year. Just over a third were released by police without charge.
- During a strip search suspects are required to take off all their clothes and can be asked to bend over and spread their legs.
The police are allowed to do this only if they suspect the person is hiding class A drugs or an object that could cause harm.
Under law, a strip search can be carried out only on those under arrest and must take place in a police cell or at a detention centre and must be approved by an inspector.
Between 2009 and 2014, Met officers strip searched just over 134,000 people, according to the figures, of whom 3.5% were children and 10.5% were female. In 2013, 803 children were subjected to the procedure, compared with 683 in 2009. In 2010, the figure reached a peak of 990.[...]
Over 4,500 children have been strip searched by London’s metropolitan police in the last five years, it has been revealed - a figure that campaigners say is “worrying” but which police say is necessary.
4,638 children aged between 10 and 16 were asked to remove their clothes by the Met between April 2008 and the end of 2013, figures released under the Freedom of Information Act and obtained by the Guardian show. Over a third were then released by police without charge.
According to the figures officers strip searched over 134,000 people between 2009 and 2014, of which 3.5 percent were kids and 10.5 percent were female. The number of actual children searched every year peaked in 2010 at 990. Campaigners were outraged at the figures.
Julian Huppert, a liberal democrat MP for Cambridge, who has campaigned – so far unsuccessfully - for an adult other than a police officer to be present during the search said the figures were “extremely worrying” and told the Guardian he had raised the issue with the police minister Damian Green.
The legal director of the Police Action Center, a charity that advises the public about pursuing legal action against the police, also questioned the necessity of strip searches.
“- Strip searching is an inhuman and degrading experience and children should not be subjected to such treatment unless there is no other feasible method to detect crime available to the police,” she said.
- But the police have defended the practice as “proportionate and appropriate”.
A spokeswoman for the Met said that “strip searching is a vital power in police custody not only to identify and seize evidence but also to ensure the safety and security of all detainees and staff.”
4500 Nakenundersökningar och anal-inspektioner på barn - av engelsk polis