Five Met officers to face misconduct charges over Bianca Williams stop and search

Athlete handcuffed and searched while travelling with her partner and baby in a car in west London

Five Metropolitan police officers are to face gross misconduct proceedings over the stop and search of the athletes Bianca Williams and Ricardo dos Santos.

The couple were stopped in Maida Vale, west London, on 4 July 2020 while travelling with their baby in a car. They were both handcuffed and searched.

The officers will face a disciplinary panel that will decide whether allegations that they breached professional standards are proven, the Independent Office for Police Conduct said.

A sixth officer will attend a meeting with force management for alleged breaches that were assessed as misconduct.

Williams and Dos Santos were stopped at 1.20pm on 4 July 2020 in Maida Vale, north-west London, by officers from the Met’s territorial support group.

Their driving is alleged to have aroused suspicion, with police claiming the Mercedes was being driven erratically. The couple say they were racially profiled. They were searched on suspicion of having drugs and weapons, with none found, while their three-month-old son was in the back seat. Both adults were handcuffed.

Officers are claimed to have said they believed they could smell cannabis as their justification for searching the two elite athletes.

Deputy assistant commissioner Bas Javid, from the Met’s directorate of professionalism, apologised for the distress caused to the couple.

He said: “I acknowledge the Independent Office for Police Conduct’s (IOPC) direction in this case. We have cooperated fully with the IOPC’s investigation and, in accordance with their direction, are now arranging for an independently led misconduct hearing to take place.

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

 

theguardian.com

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