Child Q: Third child strip-search case under scrutiny

Paul Summerson, 43, appeared at Westminster Magistrates Court. Picture: Met Police

The Met is being investigated after strip-searching a child. The news follows two controversial cases, one involving a Hackney schoolgirl - Credit: Archant

The Met has come under fire again for strip-searching a child, following the Child Q revelations involving a Hackney schoolgirl.

The police watchdog confirmed it is investigating the strip-search of another child by the Metropolitan Police.

The news follows two controversial cases where teenage girls, known as Child Q and Olivia, were strip-searched by officers while they were menstruating.

Acting Commissioner Sir Stephen House told the London Assembly Police and Crime Committee last week that there was a further case he could not discuss.

On Monday (May 30), the Independent Office for Police Conduct said: “We can confirm that, following a complaint, we are investigating the strip-search of a child.

“Due to the sensitivities surrounding this matter, we cannot provide any further information at this time.”

The latest case follows those of Child Q and another anonymous teenager given the pseudonym Olivia.

Child Q, 15, was strip-searched by female Metropolitan Police officers in 2020 after she was wrongly suspected of carrying cannabis at her east London school.

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The search took place without another adult present and in the knowledge that she was menstruating, a safeguarding report found.

The local child safeguarding practice review, conducted by City & Hackney Safeguarding Children Partnership (CHSCP), concluded the strip-search should never have happened, was unjustified and racism “was likely to have been an influencing factor”.

Protests in Hackney followed the publication of the review, as well as criticism and condemnation from council leaders and the local community. 

The headteacher of the school where Child Q was searched has since stepped down.

Olivia’s mother told the BBC that her daughter was arrested after being accused of robbery and while in custody was found to have a sharpened stick and a small blade, said to be for self-harming.

This prompted six officers to strip-search the autistic 15-year-old in front of male colleagues, leaving her traumatised, and the BBC reported that she later tried to kill herself.