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We want answers, say parents of girl cuffed by school patrol cop

THE PARENTS of a schoolgirl controversially handcuffed by a School Patrol officer say their daughter has been left distressed by the encounter, unable to focus on her exams and ‘abandoned’ by her school.

The black 16-year-old Muslim girl was taken to hospital with bruised wrists after the ‘hulking’ police officer, named locally as PC Paul Bamber, cuffed her on suspicion of burglary before letting her go.

The incident on 27 April in Stockwell, south London, sparked uproar in the community.

It is reported that 14 police vans and cars, including an armed response unit, and over 60 officers, attended the scene after PC Bamber ‘bundled’ the girl into a vacant ex-bookmakers shop.

Police denied that the girls’ hijab was pulled off during the incident, saying it was “already partially removed before the incident began.”

The distressed girl has been unable to focus on her GCSE exams, due to start tomorrow, the parents told The Voice.

Their daughter has not been contacted by the school despite a senior teacher being called to attend the scene.

PC Bamber is believed to be linked to five schools in Lambeth with a brief to monitor school children on the street, including Platanos College, formerly Stockwell Park School, where the girl attended.

Tensions have been running high since the incident, and a public meeting has been called for this Tuesday (17th May).

The parents of the girl, who wish to remain anonymous, told The Voice they want justice. The mother said: “He [the policeman] pushed her into the premises. She was shocked and screaming ‘let me go’ so they phoned [Platanos College] and one of the school senior teachers came. They just questioned her and then they let her go. “

The father said: “She was fasting that day [Ramadan]. What really upset us now is she’s saying “dad, I can’t even do my GCSEs. When I see police, daddy, I get scared. “”

Her mother said that her daughter had been unable to move her wrists for two days following the incident, adding: “She’s been humiliated; her head is all over the place. She’s been abandoned by the school. “

“Placing her in handcuffs was an unnecessary escalation. She’s a little ting, five foot nothing! You blow too hard she’d fall down! She’s really small, and you’ve got this great hulking police officer twisting her arm, bending it up. “

Lee Jasper

The incident follows anger over the treatment of Child Q, a 15-year-old girl, who was strip-searched by officers in Hackney while menstruating after teachers called the police when they failed to find cannabis. The intimate search also proved the girl was not hiding the drug.

Campaigner Lee Jasper, from the Association of Police Accountability, who is supporting the parents, called for PC Bamber to be removed as police liaison officer to the schools.

He said: “I want to ask the police how many burglaries do they know are committed by black girls dressed in school uniform with a hijab on their heads? There’s been no contact from the school, they’ve washed their hands of it.

“Placing her in handcuffs was an unnecessary escalation. She’s a little ting, five foot nothing! You blow too hard she’d fall down! She’s really small, and you’ve got this great hulking police officer twisting her arm, bending it up [kissed teeth]. Personally I don’t think he’s fit for that school officer post. “

He added: “My worry is what used to be dealt with by a headteacher is now being dealt with by the police, and that is criminalizing these kids for silly little things that normally you wouldn’t be criminalized for. There should be a review of the role of Metropolitan Police officers in our schools. “

Read Lee Jasper’s article here

It is believed the officer got involved when he saw a group of children playing with an unlocked shutter of an ex-Ladbrokes store that had been vacant for three years.

The parents met with local MP Florence Eshalomi, who is due to speak at the public meeting on Tuesday. Lambeth police chief Superintendent Colin Wingrove has been invited.

In a statement released on the day of the incident, a Metropolitan Police spokesperson said: “At around 15:40 hrs on Wednesday, 27 April an officer on routine patrol in Stockwell Road, Lambeth noticed a group of schoolchildren who appeared to be attempting to open the closed shutter of a shop.

“The officer approached the group who tried to walk away. A 15-year-old girl who had been seen trying to open the shutter was stopped and told she was being detained for a search. The purpose of the search was to try to find the item that had been being used to open the shutter.

The girl tried to pull away from the officer who was also physically obstructed by a crowd that gathered around him. She was handcuffed in order to prevent her making off and was taken inside a commercial premises away from the crowd so the search could be conducted safely.

Officers were able to make contact with the owner of the shop who said he did not wish to take the matter further. The girl was released with no further action taken against her. No complaints have been received in relation to this incident.

“We are aware of social media commentary suggesting the girl’s headscarf slid off during the search. This is not accurate. A review of the officer’s body worn video camera has confirmed the girl’s headscarf was already partially removed before the incident began. “

London police are four times more likely to use force on black people compared to white people, and it was revealed last year that complaints of racism against the Metropolitan Police have shot up by 92% in just two years.

Police use of stop and search increased dramatically during Covid lockdown, rising by 24 per cent to 695,009 in the 12 months ending in March last year.

There is growing concern that new police powers contained in the Policing Act 2022, which allow officers to stop people without reasonable suspicion, will increase the profiling of black youth, raising fears that an incident could spark an uprising.

In Lambeth, most stops and searches are for drugs with three quarters of all stops result in no further action.

The Voice has sought comments from Platanos College, and additional comments from the Metropolitan Police. We will update this article when responses are received.

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