Officers face gross misconduct allegations over use of stop and search

The Met's New Scotland Yard building

Five Metropolitan Police officers are facing gross misconduct hearings after top sprinters Bianca Williams and Ricardo Dos Santos were subject to a stop and search - Credit: Metropolitan Police

Five Metropolitan police officers are facing gross misconduct hearings after athletes Bianca Williams and Ricardo Dos Santos were subjected to a stop and search in Maida Vale in 2020. 

The officers accused of breaching Met standards include an acting police sergeant and four constables. 

News of the proceedings follows an investigation by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC). 

Its probe established that a police unit followed the athletes, proceeding to stop and search the couple who were travelling by car with their baby in Lanhill Road. 

The top sprinters were handcuffed and searched for weapons, with Mr Dos Santos also searched for drugs.

Nothing was found and no arrests were made. 

File photo dated 26/2/2022 of Bianca Williams. Five police officers could face the sack over the sto

British sprinter Bianca Williams - Credit: Martin Rickett/PA

Footage was widely shared on social media in the aftermath of the incident, which took place on July 4, 2020.

Ms Williams took to Twitter to make a complaint, prompting the Met to make a referral to the IOPC.

Formal complaints were lodged on July 9. 

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The upcoming hearings will see all five officers answer allegations that they breached professional standards relating to duties and responsibilities; use of force; equality and diversity; order and instructions and authority; respect and courtesy; and honesty and integrity.

A sixth officer will attend a separate misconduct hearing, for alleged breaches which the IOPC did not consider to warrant gross misconduct proceedings. 

A disciplinary panel, led by an independent chair, will oversee the hearings.

The IOPC also investigated a complaint about the couple's baby being put on a police database known as Merlin, which stores information on children. 

It has asked the Met to consider deleting the record, a request being considered at the time of writing. 

The force maintains that Williams and Dos Santos' car was stopped due to it being "driven in a manner that raised suspicion".

Officers were on patrol in the area at that time due to concerns over an increase in violence, said Scotland Yard.

However, deputy assistant commissioner Bas Javid, from the Met’s directorate of professionalism, said he "acknowledged" the IOPC's direction. 

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