Met Police officers face misconduct probe over stop of sprinter Bianca Williams

2 July 2021, 08:09

Athlete Bianca Williams and her partner were handcuffed outside their home last July
Athlete Bianca Williams and her partner were handcuffed outside their home last July. Picture: PA

By Daisy Stephens

Three Metropolitan Police officers face a misconduct hearing over breaches of police standards of "equality and diversity" after Team GB sprinter Bianca Williams was subjected to a stop and search.

Williams accused the force of “racially profiling” her and her partner, Ricardo dos Santos, when they were handcuffed and separated from their three-month-old son last July.

"Three MPS officers are now subject to a gross misconduct investigation for potential breaches of police standards of professional behaviour,” said a spokesperson from the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC).

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"The three officers were already subject to a misconduct investigation for various potential breaches of police standards of professional behaviour relating to the use of force; duties and responsibilities; and authority, respect and courtesy.

"After reviewing a range of new evidence, they were informed they are now subject to an investigation for potential breaches of the police standards of professional behaviour relating to equality and diversity, which requires officers to act with fairness and impartiality and not to discriminate unlawfully or unfairly.”

The spokesperson said two of them were also being investigated for “potential breaches” of standards relating to honesty and integrity, and that “collectively, these alleged breaches amount to potential gross misconduct."

The spokesperson also confirmed three other offices are also being investigated over the incident.

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They said a fourth officer is being investigated for potential breaches of the standards relating to "equality and diversity, and duties and responsibilities", and two others for behaviour relating to use of "force; duties and responsibilities; and authority, respect and courtesy".

They added: "Our investigatory work has now concluded and preparation of the final report is under way."

Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick has previously apologised to Ms Williams after footage of their car being stopped in Maida Vale, west London, was posted online by the former Olympic medallist, Linford Christie.

Earlier this year, it was announced a review would take place into the use of handcuffs where an arrest has not been made - a tactic most commonly used during stop and search.

Williams welcomed that announcement, but said further "effective" racial bias training was also needed.

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The sprinter said: "The handcuffs were painful and it was incredibly humiliating to be separated from my baby, in handcuffs outside my home with neighbours walking past.

"While I welcome better training in the Met on the use of handcuffs, the trauma of the incident did not start or end with the handcuffing.

"It was racial stereotyping and prejudice.

"I would like to see some effective bias training in the police as well as better training on the use of force and not just in relation to handcuffs."