Police strip searches of youngsters in the United Kingdom (UK) are “deeply concerning,” according to a new research.
According to the report released by Children’s Commissioner Rachel de Souza, police used their ‘stop and search’ powers to strip-search a total of 2,847 youngsters in England and Wales from 2018 to mid-2022.
According to de Souza’s investigation, police are strip-searching youngsters as young as eight in unsuitable locations such as the rear of police vans, schools, and fast-food restaurants.
According to the research, black children in England and Wales were up to six times more likely to be strip-searched than white children, who were around half as likely.
Furthermore, the audit discovered that officers did not follow the regulations in more than half of the strip-searches performed, resulting in “widespread noncompliance.” Nothing was discovered in 50% of all searches.
One in every 100 strip searches of children was done in public, and 6% were conducted in the presence of an officer of a different gender than the kid.
Appropriate adults were not present in 52% of the instances.
Ninety-five percent of those strip-searched were male, while only five percent were female.
De Souza stated that she undertook her first inquiry into child strip searches in the aftermath of the Child Q case, which occurred in Hackney in 2022.
Child Q, a 15-year-old teenager in London, was wrongfully accused of possessing cannabis by police.
She was hauled out of class and strip-searched by two female cops while menstruation, with no teachers present.
De Souza also highlighted grave worries about the low quality of record-keeping, which she claims makes openness and examination impossible.
Notwithstanding revisions in local policy, De Souza claims that the national guidelines under which Child Q was searched have yet to be rectified.