police strip

The metropolitan police have come under fire after eight male police officers forced a woman to take her clothes off as part of a strip search.

When she refused, they tackled her to the ground, and tore them off of her. Police officers had approached the woman after she was found in an apparently drunken state running across the road and looking distressed after being out at a nightclub.

Despite the fact that she reported her suspicions that her drink had been spiked, they refused to investigate that and insisted on a strip search anyway, alleging that she was taking drugs.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) said officers had breached standards of professional behaviour.
The 22-year-old was searched by one female and four males “without adequate justification”, the IPCC said.

Legally, with any type of strip search it has to be carried out by a person of the same sex. They also left the victim naked in her cell for at least 30 minutes.

The incident took place at Chelsea police station in March 2011 and IPCC commissioner Derrick Campbell said the incident caused “a great deal of distress to the victim”.

The woman complained about her treatment to the metropolitan Police, which carried out its own investigation, but she was unhappy with the findings and took the matter to the IPCC.

IPCC Commissioner Derrick Campbell said: “This incident caused a great deal of distress to the victim. I find it difficult to understand why police officers think they have the right to strip a young woman of all her clothes, leaving her naked for half an hour and then expose her to being filmed. I am sure, like the complainant, the public will want to understand how this was allowed to happen. I look forward to the misconduct process getting the answers that are needed.”

Following the appeal, the commission recommended that the Sergeant on duty should face a charge of gross misconduct over their failure to make any record of the search. It has also told the Met that five PCs should face misconduct proceedings for conducting the strip search in breach of the law.

The watchdog found that the police sergeant on duty should face a charge of gross misconduct for failing to make a written record of the strip-search or make sure that it was carried out in line with the rules.

It said five constables should face misconduct proceedings for breaching the guidelines for searches, while another two should face “management action”, an internal measure.

One is accused of using threats to prevent the woman from getting legal advice by implying that she would have to stay at the police station for longer if she did so.

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