‘Time for action’ in tackling police failures in Child Q case – Mayor

The Metropolitan Police must urgently take robust and decisive action to assure communities that the humiliating strip search experience of a child in Hackney will not happen again, the Mayor of Hackney has told a senior police officer and the Home Secretary. 

In two letters, Hackney Council has asked for an immediate review of policing guidelines and practice around strip-searching following the publication of a Local Child Safeguarding Practice Review into the case of Child Q, and a public police action plan within a fortnight.

In a letter to Deputy Assistant Commissioner Laurence Taylor, Mayor Philip Glanville, Deputy Mayor Cllr Anntoinette Bramble, Cllr Susan Fajana-Thomas, Cabinet Member for Community Safety, and Council Chief Executive Mark Carroll wrote:

It is incumbent on all of us to ensure that this is taken seriously, and never allowed to happen again. Child Q should have expected to be treated with dignity, respect and her interests as a child protected. It is clear from the report that the school and police officers failed to do that.

From the outset, the response of Hackney Police to this incident has been unsatisfactory, and the review team faced difficulties in accessing the officers involved and useful data. 

We are writing to you to ask for your assurances that all the recommendations for the police within the Safeguarding Report are acted upon by you and your senior leadership team in a manner that is both thorough and urgent.

The case did not happen in a vacuum, and is part of longstanding engagement between the council, police and community on matters of policing and race over many years. It is now time for action.

A failure to do this will further knock the community and our own confidence in our local police – which is already strained following a series of difficult events.

Mayor Philip Glanville, Deputy Mayor Cllr Anntoinette Bramble, Cllr Susan Fajana-Thomas and Chief Executive Mark Carroll

In a further letter to Home Secretary Priti Patel, Mayor Glanville, Deputy Mayor Bramble and Cllr Fajana-Thomas asked for immediate action to: 

  • Ensure that the Metropolitan Police urgently complies with and responds to the recommendations made by the City and Hackney Safeguarding Children Partnership report
  • Commission an urgent review of policing guidelines and practices around the strip-searching of children to ensure that no child endures the humiliating experience that police officers subjected Child Q to
  • Review the law to ensure that no child is strip-searched without their parents/guardians being notified

Since the findings of this review became clear, Hackney Council has offered support to Child Q and her family, given additional support to young people affected by this case through its Young Hackney service, written to schools with clear guidance on strip searches and increased training to ensure children are not held to adult standards.

The Council is also spearheading a 13-point action plan with local schools in response to the review, including training on responsibilities in dealing with the police.