Officers met accused of cutting woman’s clothes in ‘unwarranted’ strip search

A general view of New Scotland Yard, headquarters of the Metropolitan Police (Nick Ansell/PA) (PA Archive)

Of them Meet Police officers are facing disciplinary proceedings following allegations that a detainee’s clothes were cut with scissors during an ‘unwarranted’ strip search witnessed by male officers.

Sergeant Dru Hussey and a PC are accused of having carried out the intrusive search “without reason or adequate justification” in a cell at Lewisham police station on May 9, 2020.

Sgt Hussey is said to have authorized the strip search in a cell equipped with CCTV. He allegedly failed to ensure male officers were not present and is accused of failing to “minimize embarrassment or give due consideration to dignity, sensitivity and vulnerability”.

The PC was named by the Met in the original public disciplinary notice, but is now referred to as Officer A in the second published notice.

She is accused of punching the arrested woman – referred to as Person A – six times in an alleged improper use of force.

“In a CCTV cell at Lewisham Police Station, (the officer) participated in a strip search of Person A which did not comply with Code C of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 “, reads the notice.

“It is alleged that the officer failed to: inform Person A that he was to be strip searched or provide reasons; conduct the strip search with due regard to the dignity, sensitivity and vulnerability of Person A; make reasonable efforts to obtain cooperation, maintain dignity and minimize embarrassment.

“It is alleged that the officer conducted the strip search, including using scissors to cut Person A’s clothing, while male officers were present.”

Officer A also faces an allegation that she “subjected Person A to disrespectful, discourteous and degrading treatment throughout her interaction, including when she was transferred to police custody and to the police station in Lewisham”.

Sergeant Hussey faces allegations that he “authorized, participated in, and was ultimately responsible for a strip search of Person A” and “did not verify the grounds for the strip search; verify the identity of or communicate with Person A; ensure that Person A has been informed of the fact that they are to be strip searched or of the reasons and the method.

The Met use of strip search comes under scrutiny following Child Q scandalwhere a 15-year-old schoolgirl suffered overwork while on her period after being wrongly suspected of transporting cannabis to school.

A safeguard review found the strip search should never have taken place, was unwarranted and racism “was likely to have been an influencing factor”.

In figures released on Monday, it was revealed that 650 children between the ages of 10 and 17 were strip searched by Met officers between 2018 and 2020.

The disciplinary hearing for Sgt Hussey and Agent A is scheduled for seven days beginning Dec. 12.

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