Officer cleared of misconduct over strip search of lecturer at Stoke Newington Police Station
PUBLISHED: 11:23 31 August 2018 | UPDATED: 17:44 04 September 2018
A Met custody sergeant has been cleared of misconduct over the strip search of a lecturer at Stoke Newington Police Station in 2013.
Konstancja Duff claimed she was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and flashbacks following her detention.
She was arrested on the Wilton Estate, Dalston, while trying to offer a 15-year-old a card with legal advice during a stop-and-search.
Sgt Kurtis Howard authorised Dr Duff’s strip search after she had to be carried bodily from a police van then lay limp on the floor outside Stoke Newington police station for 15 minutes and refused to give her name.
Dr Duff made a complaint to the police watchdog a year after her arrest following her acquittal by magistrates of obstructing and assaulting police.
On Wednesday, a misconduct panel found her search was necessary as her uncooperative behaviour meant it was unclear if she posed a danger to herself or others.
Chairman Maurice Cohen said: “Dr Duff conceded that her behaviour was not her finest hour and if the circumstances were to arise again she would not behave in the same way and she concedes that it must have been very frustrating for Sgt Howard.
“Dr Duff says she was following the pattern of passive resistance and non-compliance akin to the civil rights movement.”
He continued: “Sgt Howard was running a busy custody suite and his primary responsibility was the safety of the staff and detainees and must run a continuous risk assessment.”
Dr Duff told the panel it was endorsing using “repressive and violating tactics” to “punish and intimidate” anyone who did not go along with being treated unjustly by the police.
In her evidence, she said she had handed the teenager - who was later found to have a six-inch knife stashed in his sock - a card with legal advice because she feared he was a victim of racial profiling.
Dr Duff said a lot of her behaviour in refusing to cooperate with police was down to shock at being arrested for handing someone a legal advice card.
She said she was unable to work for a few months after her arrest and struggled to pay her rent.