15-Year-Old Black Girl Strip-Searched At School Because Police Thought She Smelled Of Cannabis

A safeguarding report found that racism “was likely to have been an influencing factor.”

Three Metropolitan Police officers have been investigated after the strip-search of a 15-year-old Black girl. The teen, who’s name is not being revealed, was attending school in east London when teachers called police and accused her of smelling like cannabis. She was menstruating at the time, which the two female officers who searched her knew, and was searched without another adult being present. She was forced to remove her sanitary napkin and family members have said that she was not allowed to go to the toilet to clean herself.

After the search, she was sent home via taxi, according to the Jersey Evening Post.

In March 2022, a safeguarding report has found that racism “was likely to have been an influencing factor.” The report also called the instance “humiliating, traumatising and utterly shocking.”

No traces of cannabis were found in the child’s possession.

The search took place in late 2020. The three officers are believed to still be on active duty.

The girl’s mother released a statement obtained by The Guardian saying, “Professionals treated her as an adult. She was searched as an adult. Is it because of her skin? Her hair? Why her? My daughter is a changed person. We try to reassure her but looking to the future, we can’t say she will ever recover.”

According to the child’s aunt, the teen is now in therapy and self-harms.

The teen also spoke through a statement publicized by her family’s solicitor (a member of the legal profession). “Someone walked into the school, where I was supposed to feel safe, took me away from the people who were supposed to protect me and stripped me naked, while on my period,” said Chanel Dolcy. She was also vocal about feelings of hopelessness, saying, “I can’t go a single day without wanting to scream, shout, cry or just give up. I don’t know if I’m going to feel normal again. But I do know this can’t happen to anyone else, ever again.”

Dolcy has spoken about the incident as well.

“It is unlikely that Child Q would have been treated in this humiliating and degrading way had she not been black. Child Q and her family are hopeful that the recommendations of the review panel will be carefully considered and implemented so that another child is not exposed to a similar traumatic experience.”

The results of the investigation into the officers are in the process of being finalized.

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