London cops in hot water over incident with British sprinter

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Five members of London’s Metropolitan Police could face disciplinary action in relation to a stop and search on British sprinter Bianca Williams.

Williams, a European and Commonwealth 100m gold medallist, accused the officers of racial profiling after she was stopped in July 2020.

The Met later apologised after she disclosed that she and her partner, the Portuguese 400m runner Ricardo dos Santos, had been repeatedly stopped in interviews with the press.

A broad review of police practices is being conducted in the United Kingdom including investigations into the abuse of stop and search powers.

The London Metropolitan Police revealed on Wednesday that the five officers would face a gross misconduct hearing due to the search conducted in London’s Maida Vale area.

Williams’ young child was in the car at the time.

According to their account Williams, and dos Santos, were handcuffed and their car was searched but nothing was found. 

London
Bianca Williams on track. Photo: EPA

Alleged racial profiling

The couple were not arrested and were allowed on their way.

Williams told BBC radio after the incident: “They (the police) see a black male driving a nice car, an all-black car, and they assume that he was involved in some sort of gang, drug, violence problem.”

A police spokesperson said at the time that they were satisfied, after reviewing footage from social media and bodycam footage, that the officers acted appropriately.

According to the police, they stopped the car after assessing that it was being driven in a suspicious manner. 

The Met say the area had been assigned additional patrols because of a surge in violence.

However, this week, deputy assistant commissioner Bas Javid said the force had accepted the recommendations of a review by the police standards watchdog.

The officers will respond to the allegations at an independent hearing.

“I am sorry for the distress that this incident clearly caused Ms Williams and Mr Dos Santos,” he added.

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