Seven more cases that involved strip searches of children have been referred to the Independent Office for Police Conduct.
In a statement, the Metropolitan Police said these referrals were voluntary – and stressed that changes have been made to the way its officers work.
Deputy Assistant Commissioner Laurence Taylor said: “We understand the trauma and lasting impact these types of searches can have on people, especially young people, and understand the public’s concerns following several cases.”
He also confirmed that the Met is in the process of reviewing complaints that have been received over the past three years in relation to strip searches of children under the age of 18.
The Met says the seven cases relate to separate incidents that took place in London between December 2019 and March 2022.
They are in addition to three cases that were also referred to the IOPC.
Mr Taylor added: “Strip searches in custody and searches that expose more intimate parts outside of custody are important in ensuring the safety of the person being searched as well as protecting communities from drugs and weapons. But they must, of course, be carried out appropriately and in line with our policy.”
In March, Scotland Yard apologised after a black schoolgirl, known as Child Q, was strip-searched by police while on her period.
A safeguarding report found the “traumatic” search by Metropolitan Police officers took place at the girl’s school without another adult present and with the knowledge that she was menstruating.
It concluded that the strip-search should never have happened, was unjustified and racism “was likely to have been an influencing factor”.
Child Q, 15, later released a statement through her lawyer, Chanel Dolcy, saying that she will sue the Met Police.
The Met launched another investigation after a mother claimed her autistic daughter – a 15-year-old girl who has been given the pseudonym Olivia – was also strip-searched by officers.
Since a report into Child Q’s case was released, the Met says it has ensured its officers and staff “have a refreshed understanding” of its policies surrounding strip searches – including the need to have an “appropriate adult” present.
Inspectors now must give authority before such a search commences to ensure there’s appropriate oversight.
Policies have been reviewed, and the force says it recognises the fact that a child in these circumstances “may well be a vulnerable victim of exploitation by others”.