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The Child Q Case

Recently, a case of a 15-year-old girl who was strip-searched by police at her school in December 2020 has emerged in a safeguarding report. The child is known as Child Q and it has also been brought to light that racism was the main factor in the case.

The report also revealed that the teenager was pulled out of an exam to be searched after teachers from her school called the police after being falsely accused of smelling of cannabis. The strip search was conducted by two female officers in a medical room, who had no compassion for the girl or the fact that she was menstruating. While the search was conducted, the present teachers were waiting outside the room, and it was concluded that no drugs were found. The family of the girl will be suing the Metropolitan Police as well as her school due to the incident.

Although the family is taking legal action, no amount of compensation or apologies will ever make up for the traumatic experience the teenager had to go through at her delicate age. As a young adult, a lot of the experiences that we go through in life mould us as a adult. All our experiences affect our thinking, mental health, and trust. The family of the girl, as well as many other members of the public, believe that the strip search was a racist incident. The review found that her experiences are “Unlikely to have been the same had she not been black.”

According to the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 (PACE) - Code A ‘All stops and searches must be carried out with courtesy, consideration, and respect for the person concerned. This has a significant impact on public confidence in the police. Every reasonable effort must be made to minimise the embarrassment that a person being searched may experience.” It is noticeably clear that this regulation was breached by the police when it came to Child Q. The fact that the police cannot follow legal regulations is not acceptable under any circumstances.

We are expected to trust the police when it comes to our safety, but how can we trust them when till this day we hear of such incidents? This case is a prime example of racism, that still exists for people who are of an ethnic minority. The more we let these incidents go unnoticed without any proper investigation, the more likely it is for this racism to continue for years and years. We should not have to live in fear of how we will be treated because our skin colour is different. Thankfully, the teacher that had falsely accused Child Q, has now been sacked.

However, a case like Child Q is not the first, and it will not be the last either unless we take a stand for what is right and wrong. Just like Child Q is someone’s daughter, sister, and friend, tomorrow the same could happen to someone that we know. We should not wait for that before speaking up, we should speak up from now.

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