Mother tells LBC 'systemic racism' in Met 'shattering faith' of black youth

24 May 2022, 15:13

Shelagh Fogarty heard from a mother whose mixed race son was strip searched by police when he was just 15
Shelagh Fogarty heard from a mother whose mixed race son was strip searched by police when he was just 15. Picture: Alamy

By Seán Hickey

This caller shares the gut-wrenching experience of watching her teenage son be strip-searched by Met police officers.

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A police action plan was released on Tuesday aimed at tackling systemic racism within Britain's police forces.

The announcement came after it emerged an autistic teenage black girl was strip-searched by the Met whilst on her period in 2020.

Shelagh Fogarty was taking calls on the Met's relationship with BAME communities when Stacey phoned in from Greenwich. She opened up to LBC listeners about her son's experience with the Met.

Read more: Revealed: Most children strip-searched by Met come from ethnic backgrounds

She explained that when her son, who is mixed race, was 15, the police held him and his friend against a wall and demanded they stated their business – they were sat outside a cinema waiting for a film to start.

"It's innumerable, the amount of children who are affected by this" she stated, telling Shelagh that officers are "shattering the faith of black children in police officers" with such conduct.

Read more: Stop and search unfairly' targets ethnic minorities, damning report finds

Read more: Minister quips 'I need a coffee' as she flounders over changes to stop and search powers

The story went on, with the caller explaining: "I got home from work to find my son handcuffed in the back of a police car" and the police insisting on conducting a strip search in her home, as they suspected her son of carrying weapons because he refused an initial stop-and-search.

She told Shelagh that the image of her son "bent over his bed with his homework and his pencil case on his desk" haunts her to this day.

Shelagh wondered what impact the events had on her son. The caller explained that he already had negative impression of the Met, recalling another time where her "blonde haired, blue eyed" mother was waiting for him to come home from school when a police van pulled up alongside him and asked he and his friends to state their business.

"What goes on in London with young black and mixed race children is nothing short of prolonged, systemic institutional racism," the caller insisted, arguing that such violence "ripples through every part of a black boy's life."

"My children have held back from telling me a lot of stories because they said I'd never let them out of the house," she concluded.

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