Met refers itself to police watchdog over search involving Olympian Bianca Williams

7 July 2020, 18:36

By Kate Buck

The Metropolitan Police has voluntarily referred itself to the police watchdog following a stop and search involving athlete Bianca Williams.

A video of the incident, which saw the Team GB sprinter and her partner Ricardo dos Santos pulled from their car in a London street, was posted online.

Williams has said she believes officers racially profiled her and dos Santos - a Portuguese 400-metre runner - when they were handcuffed and separated from their three-month-old son.

In a statement issued on Tuesday evening the Met said that following a vehicle stop on Lanhill Road in west London on Saturday it had made "a voluntary referral to the Independent Office for Police Conduct".

The force added: "We have now recorded this incident as a public complaint.

"The decision to refer to the IOPC has been taken due to the complaint being recorded and the significant public interest in this matter and we welcome independent scrutiny of the facts.

"Two reviews of the circumstances by the Met's Directorate of Professional Standards have not identified misconduct for any officer involved."

The Metropolitan Police has voluntarily referred itself to the police watchdog following a stop and search involving athlete Bianca Williams.
The Metropolitan Police has voluntarily referred itself to the police watchdog following a stop and search involving athlete Bianca Williams. Picture: PA

The referral follows comments from 68-year-old Pretenders singer Chrissie Hynde, who accused the Met Police of being "out of touch" and described the incident as "disturbing and shocking".

The Met previously said on Monday that its Directorate of Professional Standards had revisited body-worn camera footage and social media videos of Saturday's incident and found no misconduct issues.

Olympian Bianca Williams told LBC's Nick Ferrari that an apology from the force wouldn't be enough after Saturday's incident in Maida Vale, London, adding that she now planned to take a "legal route" against them.

"They took me away from my son. That hurts more than anything," she said, recalling the moment outside her home when officers pulled her and her partner Riccardo out of the family car, handcuffing them, and telling them they could smell cannabis.

"We were going home normally from training...it's the normal shortcut if there is a ridiculous amount of traffic," she said, adding that she believed they had actually been stopped because the car was "all black".

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