Man stopped and searched by police ‘for wearing several layers despite warm weather’

25 March 2022, 13:43

Police confirmed a formal complaint had been made over the incident
Police confirmed a formal complaint had been made over the incident. Picture: TikTok

By Will Taylor

Footage of a black man being stopped and searched by police in a London street 'for wearing several layers of clothing despite the warm weather' has sparked outrage.

Two officers are seen speaking to the man in a side street in Croydon which the Met said was "an area well-known for drug dealing."

The man replied that he can dress "how he wants" before an officer says she is going to detain him, saying he wasn't "dressed for the climate."

Police have launched a review into the incident and confirmed a formal complaint had been made.

A Scotland Yard spokesman confirmed he had been stopped because of his location and the fact he was "wearing several layers of clothing despite the warm weather."

In the clip, which was posted to social media app Tik Tok and has been viewed over 250,000 times, the man can be heard asking the police: “Are you going to buy me a coat?”

“I’m just wondering why you’re wearing a coat,” a male officer replies.

“If people are trying to hide things, they wear baggy clothes.”

The man offers to hand over his coat to police if they buy him a new one.

“We don’t want your coat, we’re asking why you’re wearing it. You’re not dressed for the climate,” the female officer replies.

“I wear anything I want, what’s wrong with you? What do you mean the climate, who tells me how to dress? I don’t even want to talk to you,” the man says.

The female officer then says she is detaining him as he says “go on, go on” and the video cuts out.

Alongside the clip, the man subjected to the search posted: "Today I was being harassed by these 3 illiterate officers, giggling like kids when they were asking me idiotic questions like what am I wearing & why I look like I do.

"This bullying tactic they use is to get guys like me reacting a way they want so they can arrest me. This needs to stop."

One person who shared the footage online wrote: "It’s not that hot and regardless even if it was when did they have laws on how to dress being detained for wearing a coat has to be one of the most ridiculous things I’ve heard lately."

Another posted: "That is utterly ridiculous. What is wrong with the police that they would question someone wearing a coat? Why do the police get so much wrong these days? Is it because we have a government which gets everything wrong? I wonder."

Scotland Yard said in a statement: "At 16:47hrs on Wednesday, 23 March patrolling officers from the Violent Crime Taskforce noticed a man walking down a side road in Dagnall Park, Croydon, in an area well-known for drug dealing.

"It was also observed that he was wearing several layers of clothing despite the warm weather.

"Officers approached him to establish his reasons for being in the area.

"He became hostile and refused to account for what he was doing. He was detained for the purposes of a search under the Misuse of Drugs Act.

"Nothing was found and the man went on his way."

Detective Chief Superintendent Lee Hill, of the Met's Violent Crime Taskforce, said: “We are aware of footage circulating on social media; this shows only a small part of this incident and we would ask people not to rush to judgement.

“In this instance a formal complaint has been received and is being handled in accordance with the Police Reform Act. This will include a review of all the available footage, including the officer’s body-worn video.

“Our officers have to conduct themselves in the most challenging of circumstances and it is right their actions should be subject to public scrutiny.”

Police are permitted to carry out stop-and-search if they have ‘reasonable grounds’ to suspect someone is carrying illegal drugs, a weapon, stolen property or other items used to carry out crime.

It is only allowed when approved by a more senior officer and can happen if there is a risk of violence, the individual is suspected of carrying a weapon or if they are in a ‘specific location or area’.

The footage comes on the same day that LBC revealed thousands of strip searches have been carried out by police on children in London in recent years, most of them from ethnic backgrounds.

Of 5,279 children searched by the Met police in the past three years, 3,939 (75%) were from ethnically diverse backgrounds. A total of 16 of them were aged between 10 and 12 years old.

The figures cover children who were strip searched after an arrest, including 2,000 for drug offences, meaning the real number of youths strip searched in London will be even higher.

The figures come as the Met faces legal action after carrying out a strip-search of Child Q, a 15-year-old girl who was on her period at the time. These figures wouldn't include the case of Child Q, as she was never arrested.