Bianca Williams: Metropolitan Police refers itself to watchdog after stopping Team GB athlete's car

Probe comes as David Lammy claims such incidents 'diminishing trust among black populations in the criminal justice system'

Vincent Wood
Tuesday 07 July 2020 19:10 BST
Athlete Bianca Williams to sue Met because of 'racist' stop and search incident

The Metropolitan Police has referred itself to the police watchdog over the actions of its officers in a stop and search involving athlete Bianca Williams.

The 26-year-old Team GB sprinter was dragged from the vehicle and handcuffed in Maida Vale, West London on Saturday along with partner Ricardo dos Santos, a Portuguese 400m runner, in front of their three month-old-son.

The athlete has since accused the Met of racial profiling - telling LBC radio she believes they were stopped because the car is all black and her partner is a black man.

Now the force has said it will voluntarily refer itself to the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC), having not identified any misconduct through their internal review process.

A Metropolitan Police statement said: ""We have now recorded this incident as a public complaint.

"The decision to refer to the IOPC has been taken due to the complaint being recorded and the significant public interest in this matter and we welcome independent scrutiny of the facts.

"Two reviews of the circumstances by the Met's Directorate of Professional Standards have not identified misconduct for any officer involved."

On Monday Met Commander for Central West Helen Harper said that while no misconduct issues had been found, "that does not mean there isn't something to be learnt from every interaction we have with the public".

Meanwhile David Lammy, the Labour MP for Tottenham, said such incidents are "diminishing trust among black populations in the criminal justice system".

"I'm afraid there has been far too much footage now of what feels like incredibly heavy-handed policing of black people, not just in London but across the country, and this is a moment I think to pause and ask ourselves deep questions that are coming up in relation to Black Lives Matter", he said.

"Why is it that this is persistently happening? It's diminishing trust among black populations in the criminal justice system.

"These are issues I raised in the review I was asked to do by David Cameron and it's very, very concerning that here we are three years later and these issues remain perennial."

Additional reporting by Press Association

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