Met chief apologises to athlete over stop and search racism row

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick has apologised to athlete Bianca Williams for the “distress” caused by a stop and search.

The Team GB sprinter had accused officers of racially profiling her and her partner Ricardo dos Santos when they pulled the couple over last weekend.

The pair were handcuffed and separated from their three-month-old son but no arrests were made. Police said the vehicle had been driving suspiciously.

Dame Cressida told the Home Affairs Select Committee today: “We apologised yesterday to Ms Williams and I apologise again for the distress this stop clearly caused her.”

She added: “Yesterday two of my officers spoke on our behalf to Ms Williams, and I think all of us watching could empathise with somebody who is stopped in a vehicle, who has a young child in the back, who does not probably know what exactly is going on, and is subsequently found, together with her partner, not to be carrying anything illicit.”

Two reviews by the Met’s directorate of professional standards found no misconduct by officers but the force has voluntarily referred itself to the Independent Office for Police Conduct due to the “level of public concern”.

The independent watchdog’s regional director Sal Naseem said the review will look at whether the use of stop and search was “appropriate and proportionate”.

He added: “We will also investigate if racial profiling or discrimination played a part in the incident.”

A video of the incident was widely circulated online after being tweeted by former Olympic medallist Linford Christie.

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