The Metropolitan Police has outlined the actions it will take following revelations that a Black child was strip searched at school in Hackney, stating its intention to become a "truly anti-racist organisation".

This week, deputy assistant commissioner (DAC) Laurence Taylor responded to Hackney Council's request that "all recommendations" in its safeguarding report are acted upon.

DAC Taylor states in a letter to the council: "We are in full agreement with the review that this incident should never have happened. It is more than regrettable."

The council's Local Child Safeguarding Practice Review revealed that a Black schoolgirl was strip searched by police after being wrongly accused of carrying drugs, without a parent of guardian present.

The Met acknowledged that the search by female officers in 2020 "did not follow policy".

The officers involved in the search are now subject to an investigation by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC). They have been removed from front-line duties.

DAC Taylor said it would be "wrong to comment further" on the allegation that the search was racially motivated, while the IOPC investigation is under way.

The council's review however, found that racism likely played a role in the search, "whether deliberate or not".

In a letter sent on March 17, Hackney Council gave the Met two weeks to outline the action it would take to assure communities that what happened to Child Q would not happen again.

The council received the plan on March 31, which included an acknowledgement of failings in the case as well as recognition of the widespread "high emotion and anger" caused by the search.

Despite calls for Hackney's borough commander Marcus Barnett to resign, the Met has said it is working with him in responding to community concerns.

"In support of [Barnett] delivering these changes, I will be monitoring centrally and evaluating their success for consideration of a wider roll out across the [Met]," DAC Taylor said.

Actions being taken include policy reviews over what are referred to as MTIP searches (more thorough searches where intimate body parts are exposed).

The Met says these searches differ from those termed "strip searches" which "only happen in police custody".

Actions also include improved training for officers, police encounter panels to "scrutinise incidents of community concern" and other community exercises such as giving young people a chance to trade places in stop and search role playing scenarios.

The plan involves new initiatives such as a child centric stop and search review panel involving the community, as well as training from Hackney's Safeguarding Children Partnership to raise awareness of structural racism, to "reinforce the need to view children as children" and to tackle the issue of adultification.

Adultification bias is a form of racial prejudice where children from minority groups, particularly Black children, are treated like adults.

In 2021, the MPS carried out around 4,300 MTIP stop and searches, out of a total of over 228,000 stop and searches.

Hackney Council's review states that 25 children under the age of 18 were subject to "further searches", a term used to cover strip search activity.

Of the children searched, 15 were Black, two were white, six Asian and two described as Arab or north African. 19 were male and 18 handcuffed during the process.

Most searches involved suspicions about drugs (20), with other suspicions involving weapons or stolen property.

No further action was taken in 88 per cent of the cases.

The council’s chief executive, Mark Carroll, said the council "cautiously welcomes" the Met's intention to become a anti-racist organisation, and its commitment to training and improvement.

Mr Carroll stated in a letter to the Met: "The issues of racism, and trust and confidence in policing amongst our Black and Global Majority residents go back... many many years.

"Action to date has had very little impact, and we all agree that trust and confidence remains too low,
particularly in Hackney."

He added that such changes will "require a significant step-change in the commitment, focus and pace of engagement at both the BCU and central Metropolitan Police levels".