'Was she rank?': Met apologises for language used during Hackney strip search

Stoke Newington Police Station where philosophy lecturer Konstancja Duff was strip searched

Stoke Newington Police Station where philosophy lecturer Konstancja Duff was strip searched - Credit: Google

The Met has apologised for the language used by its officers when conducting a strip search on a woman at Stoke Newington Police Station.

Philosophy lecturer Konstancja Duff was detained at the Stoke Newington Road station in 2013 after being arrested for trying to offer a 15-year-old a card containing legal advice during a stop-and-search on an estate.

In footage obtained by the Guardian, police officers can be heard to say of Dr Duff, who is based at the University of Nottingham, “Was she rank?” and “Her clothes stink”.

Another clip sees an officer reference a “smell”, before another says “Oh, it’s her knickers”.

Dr Duff said the officers spoke about her in a “really dehumanising way”, describing how she was pinned to a cell floor by three officers with her hands cuffed and legs tied together.

The lecturer, who was self-employed at the time of the incident, said the officers “cut off my clothes with scissors”.

She said: “They (the police) are being challenged on their racism, on their misogyny. So I hope that what I’m describing can be heard as part of that.”

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London Mayor Sadiq Khan didn't hold back on the officers' actions, claiming that what happened to Dr Duff was “utterly disgraceful”.

He tweeted: “I strongly condemn the derogatory and sexist actions towards Dr Duff. The Met are right to have apologised for this appalling incident. Women in our city must be able to trust the police.”

When asked about the incident, the Met said it had “sincerely apologised”, pledging to continue with its ongoing investigation into allegations of misconduct.

The force said: “In November 2021, the Met settled a claim following the arrest of a woman in Hackney in May 2013.

"We have sincerely apologised to the complainant for the language used while she was in custody and any distress caused.

“Following the conclusion of the civil claim, allegations of misconduct relating to these comments were referred to our Directorate of Professional Standards and are currently being investigated.

“This investigation remains ongoing.”