UK

Met police will have to justify using HANDCUFFS after athlete accused force of ‘racially profiling’ 

Met police will have to justify using HANDCUFFS after Team GB athlete Bianca Williams accused the force of ‘racially profiling’ her during a stop last summer

  • Team GB’s Bianca Williams accused the Metropolitan Police of racial profiling
  • She was stopped with her partner while driving through Maida Vale in July
  • Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick apologised to the athlete for the incident
  • Ms Williams was handcuffed alongside her partner Ricardo dos Santos 

Metropolitan police officers will have to justify their use of handcuffs after Team GB athlete Bianca Williams accused the force of ‘racially profiling’ her.

Williams was handcuffed alongside her partner Ricardo dos Santos and separated from their three-month-old son last July. 

Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick apologised to the athlete after footage of their car being stopped in Maida Vale, west London, was posted online by former Olympic medallist Linford Christie.

Britain’s most senior police officer also launched a review into the use of handcuffs where an arrest has not been made – a tactic most commonly used during stop and search.

Commonwealth gold medallist Bianca Williams and her Portuguese sprinter partner Ricardo dos Santos complained they were racially profiled by officers during a stop and search in July

Scotland Yard said on Friday the force will improve its ‘training, policy and processes’ following the review, which makes 10 recommendations.

‘The Met will now develop a specific policy on handcuffing pre-arrest that will set out clear guidance for officers, including the requirement to justify any initial application of handcuffs as well as their continued use during an interaction,’ a statement said.

Recommendations include ‘additional legal training, extended officer safety and improved personal safety training for police officers, de-escalation tactics and more community input to understand the respective experiences of each during encounters.’

The Met have also amended its stop and search e-form to include any use and justification for handcuffs pre-arrest.

Scotland Yard previously said officers from the Directorate of Professional Standards reviewed footage from social media and officers' bodycams and were satisfied there was no concern around the officers' conduct

Pictured: A police officer leans into the couple's car window during the stop-and-search

Scotland Yard previously said officers from the Directorate of Professional Standards reviewed footage from social media and officers’ bodycams and were satisfied there was no concern around the officers’ conduct

Linford Christie, pictured, questioned whether the car was stopped in such a manner because there was a young black family inside the vehicle

Linford Christie, pictured, questioned whether the car was stopped in such a manner because there was a young black family inside the vehicle

Deputy Assistant Commissioner Matt Twist, who led the review said: ‘The Met is determined to be the most trusted police service in the world.

‘Officers are out on the streets of London every day, bearing down on violent crime, and in the course of doing so will have thousands of interactions with the public.

‘Ensuring the trust and confidence of the public is reliant upon the quality of our interactions and our communication before, during and after any stop where handcuffs are believed by officers to be needed.

‘I am grateful to the members of the public, police officers and critical friends who took time to help with this important work which I believe will help us to improve our practices and with it, the trust of the public.’

The review included consultations with young black men, aged between 16 and 25, as well as frontline officers.

A photo shared on Instagram by Ms Williams of the stop and search confrontation. She is to the right of the centre of the photo, with her three-month-old son

A photo shared on Instagram by Ms Williams of the stop and search confrontation. She is to the right of the centre of the photo, with her three-month-old son

It found that searches of the same people, where nothing is found, are ‘extremely corrosive to the person’s and wider communities’ trust and confidence in policing’.

‘The public are concerned that the use of handcuffs can be degrading and, whilst accepting there is a place for it, handcuffs should not be the first resort, and more effort should be made in communication and explanation that might make the use of handcuffs unnecessary,’ it said.

‘The use of handcuffs pre-arrest is an issue of community concern. It is clear that there is a sound legal basis in some circumstances for the use of handcuffs pre-arrest in order to conduct a stop and search.

‘However, this needs to be justified on every occasion and cannot, and must not, be considered a matter of routine or common practise that is done without proper consideration and recording on each occasion.

‘The MPS (Metropolitan Police Service) needs to restate its position on this clearly for all officers and staff, as well as expectations around the recording of all uses of force including pre arrest handcuffing.’

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