Statement following misconduct hearing over stop and search of Bianca Williams and Ricardo Dos Santos
Two Metropolitan Police Service officers have been dismissed today following a misconduct hearing over the stop and search in Maida Vale, west London, of athletes Bianca Williams and Ricardo Dos Santos.
IOPC director Steve Noonan said: “I want to acknowledge Bianca and Ricardo who, having spoken out about their experience, showed considerable patience and determination while they waited for the outcome of their complaint.
“The stop and search in which they were both handcuffed, in front of their infant child, was clearly highly distressing for them and also caused widespread community concern about the use of stop and search powers by police.
“These officers have now been publicly held accountable for their actions. We, at the Independent Office for Police Conduct, decided the officers had a case to answer for their actions and that they should face these misconduct proceedings.
“But only a police misconduct panel, led by an independently and legally qualified chair, could decide whether or not the case was proven. That panel has now decided that officers PC Jonathan Clapham and PC Sam Franks be dismissed without notice for breaching the police standard of professional behaviour relating to honesty and integrity for claiming they could smell cannabis on Ricardo.
“We are acutely aware that Bianca and Ricardo’s interaction with police and their feeling of being treated less favourably by officers because of their race, is reflective of the experiences of many Black people across London and throughout England and Wales.
“We know that Black people are almost nine times more likely to be stopped and searched by police than White people, and nearly nine times more likely to be searched for drugs - despite a lower find rate of drugs for Black people than White people. The officers in this case claimed they smelled cannabis in the athletes’ car despite no drugs being found in the search.
“It’s figures like these and cases like Bianca and Ricardo’s which emphasise why Black people report having low trust and confidence in policing.
“The Casey review highlighted widespread cultural issues and discriminatory conduct or attitudes in the Met. It’s clear that the Met and policing as a whole need to work hard to restore the trust and confidence of Black people. We acknowledge that the Met’s Commissioner has accepted systemic and cultural failings in his force and has put plans in place to attempt to rebuild trust with Londoners.
“We would encourage anyone who feels they have been mistreated or discriminated against by the police to exercise your right to complain. It is only by speaking up, that you can make your voice heard.”
The three other officers, A/PS Rachel Simpson, PC Michael Bond and PC Alan Casey had the gross misconduct allegations against them not proven but will all be subject to the reflective practice review process.
We began our investigation following the 4 July 2020 incident, and investigators interviewed the officers, examined video footage and obtained statements from several witnesses as part of the probe.
In February 2022, we passed our final report and findings to the MPS. In April 2022 we then directed that disciplinary proceedings should take place.
We then took the decision to present the case to the police disciplinary panel, appointed by the MPS and headed by an independent legally qualified chair. In most cases, the relevant police force would present the case using our evidence.
However, we used our power to present, under new regulations introduced in February 2020 as we believed it was in the public interest, would enhance public confidence in the police complaints process and because the Met disagreed with some of our findings in relation to the gross misconduct allegations against the officers.