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Labour MP Kim Johnson accuses Met Police of ‘racial profiling’ after she and family stopped in central London

Officers surrounded group as they headed to restaurant but ‘turned on their heels’ when they discovered they were dealing with member of parliament

Colin Drury
North of England Correspondent
Tuesday 06 July 2021 09:33 BST
Kim Johnson told officers: ‘I am an MP and I want to know why?’
Kim Johnson told officers: ‘I am an MP and I want to know why?’ (UK Parliament)

An MP has accused the Metropolitan Police of racial profiling after officers stopped her and her family as they headed to a restaurant in central London last month.

Kim Johnson, Labour MP for Liverpool Riverside, said that she, her son and his friend – both black men in their 30s – and their two wives were all surrounded as they enjoyed an evening out in Covent Garden.

Officers told the group that one of the men matched a description of someone they were looking for but “turned on their heels” after Ms Johnson informed them she was an MP.

She said: “We were getting out of a taxi to go to a restaurant… which was just a few feet away. All of a sudden there were all these police officers around us.

“They wanted to know what we were doing. My son’s friend is a black man and he was wearing a bright yellow jacket. They said they had received reports of a man wearing a yellow jacket.

“I said to them, ‘Why are you stopping us? We have just got out of a taxi. I am an MP and I want to know why you’re stopping us?’ They turned on their heels then.”

The incident happened on 18 June, the day England played Scotland in the Euro 2020 football tournament and Ms Johnson raised the question of why “rowdy fans” were left unbothered by officers, while her family was targeted.

Speaking to the Liverpool Echo, Ms Johnson – who became the first black MP to represent Liverpool when she was elected in 2019 – added: “You are still three times more likely to be stopped and searched as a black male.”

She said that “racial profiling and stop and search” remained prevalent issues that needed to be addressed.

The Metropolitan Police force said it was “unable to comment on this specific incident” but added that if a person matched the description of someone involved in a suspected crime, “we would expect officers to pursue all lines of enquiry, including speaking to individuals who match the description”.

It added: “The Met remains committed to ensuring that every encounter is conducted professionally with respect and courtesy.”

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