Met police
File photo: Metropolitan police officer iStock

The Met Police has been under severe scrutiny after a recent report claimed that the organisation is "institutionally racist and sexist."

Now an analysis by campaign group Liberty Investigates has revealed that black girls are almost three times more likely to be subjected to an invasive strip search by the Met Police as opposed to their white counterparts.

The group analysed data obtained via freedom of information requests for the period between 2017 and 2022. It found that almost half (47%) of those subjected to these strip searches were black.

The report added that 110 female children and teenagers were strip-searched during the aforementioned period. "Fifty-two of them, or 47 per cent, were black, while London's population of black females up to 19 years old stands at 17.5 percent," said the report.

The report divided the searchers into two categories: one where a person's intimate parts are exposed, and the other where the intimate parts are kept covered. In both cases, 36 per cent of the people searched were black.

"For children and teenagers up to the age of 19, 45 per cent of both types of strip search were of black people." The report went on to accuse the Met Police of "racial disproportionality" when it came to carrying out stop-and-searches.

The report comes at a time when the Met Police is already under immense scrutiny for its conduct and attitude. It does not really come as a shock since several reports over the last year have revealed its shortcomings.

A recent review of the force's conduct by Baroness Louise Casey has also made some explosive revelations about the Met Police and its conduct over the years.

The report found the force to be "institutionally racist, misogynistic, and homophobic." The review was launched in February 2022, and Casey, a member of the House of Lords in the United Kingdom, was appointed to investigate its institutional culture. It claimed that the organisation failed to protect not only members of the public but its female staff members as well.

The review added that some of the people in the Met have racist attitudes and that "black, Asian, and ethnic minority officers and staff are more likely to experience racism, discrimination, and bullying at their hands."

The reports have not come out of the blue. The authorities were, in fact, forced to launch the review against the Met Police after it came to light that one of its officers, Wayne Couzens, murdered a young woman after raping her. Couzens was convicted of the crime in 2021.

The Met Police force was still trying to deal with the controversy created by Couzens' case when another serving officer was arrested and accused of rape the same year.

The department launched a review of the conduct of its officers after these cases came to light and found that more than 1,000 Metropolitan Police officers and staff had been accused of being involved in sexual and domestic abuse complaints.

An investigation by the National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC) recently revealed that hundreds of complaints were registered against UK police officers between October 2021 and March 2022, but actions were taken in less than 1% of these cases.

In 2022, a report commissioned by the Children's Commissioner for England, Dame Rachel de Souza, made similar findings and found that the youngest child strip searched by the Met Police between 2018 and mid-2022 was just eight years old.

The aforementioned incidents and the subsequent investigations into Met Police officers' conduct over the years have created a trust deficit, with people calling for its abolition. It now remains to be seen what action the government and the Met Police take to rehabilitate their image and regain people's trust.