Deputy police commissioner backs officers over Dawn Butler stop

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

A senior police official has defended the officers who were accused of racially profiling Labour MP Dawn Butler after they pulled over a car she was in on Sunday.

The Brent Central MP, who is black, was travelling as a passenger in a BMW driven by a friend, who is also black, through Hackney in east London when they were stopped.

Footage of the encounter, filmed by Ms Butler, was shared widely online.

Having reviewed the video, Metropolitan Police deputy commissioner Sir Steve House said the officers behaved appropriately and criticised the way they have faced “trial by social media”.

He said in a statement: “The officers in this case came into work on Sunday to keep Londoners safe.

“Officers expect to be scrutinised and there are existing, appropriate and proportionate processes for making complaints and for facts to be established, and on the occasions where there is fault – unlike this case – for consequences to follow.

“The increasingly routine trial by social media is unfair and damaging to individual officers and has the potential to undermine the role our communities need us to do to protect them and keep them safe from violence.”

Sir Steve said he had discussed with Ms Butler her concerns over why the stop was made, adding she had no complaint about how it was conducted.

Ms Butler has previously said the incident was "obviously racial profiling", adding: "We have to stop associating being black and driving a nice car with crime.”

According to the force, the officers were from the Violent Crime Task Force and were carrying out “proactive work to protect communities from violence”.

Sir Steve said they did not know who was in the car, or their ethnicity, when they ran a number plate check on the vehicle.

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