Met Police officers who stopped and searched Bianca Williams face gross misconduct charge

Team GB sprinter and partner stopped in west London while travelling with baby in car and both handcuffed during search which found nothing

Chiara Giordano
Wednesday 27 April 2022 15:36
Athlete Bianca Williams to sue Met because of 'racist' stop and search incident

Five Metropolitan Police officers who stopped and searched Team GB athlete Bianca Williams and her partner are to face gross misconduct proceedings.

The couple were stopped in Maida Vale, west London, on the afternoon of 4 July 2020 while travelling with their three-month-old son in a car.

Both were handcuffed while Ms Williams, a Commonwealth Games gold medallist, was searched for weapons and Portuguese sprinter Ricardo Dos Santos was searched for weapons and drugs.

Nothing was found during the search, a video of which went viral on social media at the time, and the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) began a misconduct investigation in October 2020.

An acting police sergeant and four constables will face allegations they breached police standards of professional behaviour for duties and responsibilities and for equality and diversity.

The officers will face a disciplinary panel that will decide whether allegations they breached professional standards are proven, according to the police watchdog.

A sixth officer will attend a meeting with force management for alleged breaches that were assessed as misconduct.

Whether racial discrimination played a part in the stop and search will also be examined.

The IOPC investigation also found the couple’s son had been placed on a database that stores information on children known to the police.

The watchdog investigated a complaint that a report relating to the couple’s son had been completed by one of the officers and passed on to the local authority.

It said it had directed the police force to consider deleting the report and to make all reasonable efforts to arrange for the local authority to do so.

Bianca Williams accused the Metropolitan Police of racial profiling after police performed a stop and search on her and her partner Ricardo dos Santos, where the couple were pulled from their car

In a statement issued through the couple’s lawyers, Ms Williams said: “I welcome this decision and hope this opens the door for the Met to start being more honest and reflective about the culture of racism which is undoubtedly still a reality within the organisation.

“A clear focus on the racism problem within the Met by the IOPC is long overdue.”

Mr Dos Santos added: “This has been a long journey, and one which has not been easy.

“We have been engaged in this process for nearly two years, and who knows how much longer we will now have to wait for the conclusion of the misconduct proceedings?

“This sheds a light on how difficult it is to ensure the police are held responsible for their failings.”

Deputy Assistant Commissioner Bas Javid, from the Met’s Directorate of Professionalism, apologised for the distress caused to the couple.

He said: “I acknowledge the Independent Office for Police Conduct’s direction in this case.

“We have cooperated fully with the IOPC’s investigation and, in accordance with their direction, are now arranging for an independently led misconduct hearing to take place.

“I am sorry for the distress that this incident clearly caused Ms Williams and Mr Dos Santos.”

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said the incident showed the need for Cressida Dick’s replacement as Metropolitan Police commissioner to draw up a “more effective plan to tackle the serious cultural issues” within the force.

“This incident was understandably deeply distressing for Bianca Williams and Ricardo Dos Santos, and I, like many Londoners, was disturbed by the footage of what happened,” he said.

“I welcome the independent investigation by the IOPC and its findings.

“It is important there is no further delay and these officers now face gross misconduct proceedings as soon as possible.

“This case is yet another example of why it is vital that the next commissioner has a more effective plan to tackle the serious cultural issues within the Met Police and to regain the trust of Londoners.”

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