A Metropolitan Police Service officer who was found to have racially profiled a Black driver during a stop-and-search last year will face no penalty for their actions.
The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) launched an investigation after a 27-year-old man was stopped after being observed by officers while driving in Old Kent Road in south London, in May 2020.
The victim was placed in handcuffs and had a Taser pointed at him, and his car and his three passengers were searched under the Misuse of Drugs Act.
The watchdog found that one officer had a case to answer for misconduct due to bias as he racially profiled the man during the incident, did not provide adequate grounds for the stop and failed to follow the guidance provided by the College of Policing.
It was also found that the officer breached coronavirus force policy by failing to wear proper PPE and could have used tactics to de-escalate the situation rather than handcuffing and using the ‘red-dot’ function of the Taser on the man.
The Metropolitan Police Service agreed that the officer should address these issues and focus on what constitutes reasonable grounds for stop and search and consider the impact of the disproportionate use of stop and search on Black and minority ethnic communities.
The force said the IOPC had agreed the officer should take part in equality and diversity training, but will face no other action over the incident.
IOPC Regional Director Sal Naseem said: “Stop and search is an important policing tool but can also be very intrusive and affect the trust and confidence that Black communities have in the police service. It is vital it is used with care.
“Our investigation found evidence that racial bias played a part in an officer’s decision to stop the member of the public and the officer will now have to reflect and learn from this.
“It is this sort of incident that can undermine the legitimacy of stop and search as a policing tactic.”
He added: “For those members of the community affected disproportionally by the use of stop and search, they must have confidence that racial bias plays no part in how this policing power is used.”
In a statement to The Independent, the Met said the officer’s future stop and search data will be reviewed by his supervisor to review any potential for unconscious bias.
A spokesperson added: “In all three instances (relating to the search carried out by the officer, racial profiling and lack of PPE) the IOPC concluded that there was misconduct and agreed that should be addressed through reflective practice for the officer concerned, including reviewing the relevant legislation relating to stop and search powers as well as completing further training in this area.
“Stop and search is a vitally important tool in the fight against violence and associated criminality and we are acutely aware that its use must be justifiable in every instance. We are also aware of the impact it has on the black community.
“Where our standards slip below where they should be, we should be challenged and rightfully held to account. On this occasion the IOPC and MPS agree that the officer involved should reflect on their performance and actions to determine whether a better outcome could be achieved in future.”