Dame Cressida Dick: Bianca Williams stop-and-search video 'doesn't reveal racism'

22 July 2020, 09:35

By Megan White

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick has said she “doesn’t accept” that a video of athlete Bianca Williams being stopped in London “reveals racism.”

Speaking to LBC’s Nick Ferrari, Dame Cressida said she believed “any officer worth their salt would have stopped that car being driven in that manner.”

Ms Williams, a Team GB sprinter, accused the Met of racial profiling after she and her partner were pulled over and handcuffed while driving with their baby in the car.

She said officers spoke to Ricardo dos Santos “like he was scum, dirt on their shoe.”

The Met apologised to Ms Williams for the distress caused by the incident and referred itself to the Independent Office of Police Conduct.

Dame Cressida said it was “quite right” that the police watchdog was investigating but said her “professional standards people have looked at it and they don’t see any misconduct.”

One caller asked: “I believe that what happened with Bianca Williams in the footage revealed there is still problems with racism within the police force. Would you commit to more positive action to recruit more black, ethnic minority and all diverse recruits into your police force?”

The Commissioner said: “I don’t personally accept that what we have seen so far on the video in relation to the stop of Ms Williams reveals racism.

“As you may know, the Independent Office of Police Conduct are looking at this, and I of course wait to see what they say.

“However, having seen some of the footage myself, I would say that any officer worth their salt would have stopped that car that was being driven in that manner.

“Secondly, my professional standards people have looked at it and they don’t see any misconduct.

“What I do recognise is of course is that Bianca Williams was quite patently, as we all saw on the video which went viral, distressed by the whole matter, and as one human being to another, I apologised to Bianca Williams.

Ms Williams, a Team GB sprinter, accused the Met of racial profiling
Ms Williams, a Team GB sprinter, accused the Met of racial profiling. Picture: PA

“Nobody likes seeing somebody distressed, whatever the circumstances. We are a compassionate organisation.”

When challenged about whether her apology “made her officers guilty,” Dame Cressida responded: “I was very clear – I apologised for the distress that she suffered, the distress that was caused.”

She added: “I did not throw them under the bus and I support them fully in doing stop and search, doing it effectively, doing it in an intelligence-led way, doing it professionally.

“It’s had some fantastic results over the last couple of years decreasing knife crime affecting young people across the streets of London.

“However, it is appropriate that when she has made a complaint, we don’t think our officers have done anything wrong at all, and we find it frustrating as they do that small videos are put out there and actually we have seen a whole load of other material in relation to an incident, in particular this incident, which would suggest another way of looking at this than the sort of instant reaction from people on their armchairs.

“It’s quite right that the Independent Office of Police Conduct are having a look at it.”

Addressing the caller’s question about recruiting BAME officers, Dame Cressida said: “Absolutely – as I said, we already have 8,000 people in the Met who are from black and minority ethnic backgrounds.

“5,000 officers, which is an absolute record, and more than 50 per cent of the BAME officers in the country are in the Met and I want more.

“We’ve been doing all kinds of positive action to get more, we’re recruiting now, and we are looking for more and more.

“In the last year we’ve had record numbers coming in which is brilliant.”