Jump to content

Tutor who attempted to help teenager was strip searched


Fedster
 Share

Recommended Posts

  • Admin Team

Misconduct hearing told 'degrading' search was carried out after she had tried to hand teenager a card.

Tutor who attempted to help teenager was strip searched

 

Date - 29th August 2018
By - JJ Hutber at the Empress State Building
1 Comment1 Comment}

 

A sergeant is facing dismissal over allegations he unlawfully authorised the strip search of a music student after she tried to intervene in a stop and search.

Konstancja Duff told a Metropolitan Police misconduct hearing today at the Empress State Building she went through a “humiliating and demeaning” search after trying to give a legal advice card to a teenager on May 3, 2013.

She said she still suffers from flashbacks and is awaiting treatment for PTSD as a result of her “degrading” strip search in which she claims  three female officers cut off her clothes with scissors, jeered at her, touched her breasts and genitals and ripped out her earrings.

In May 2013 she worked as a philosophy tutor and was sitting with a student in the community gardens of the Wilton Estate (E8) when she heard sounds of a “child in distress” and went to investigate.

She found a young teenager “surrounded” by police officers, calling out that he wanted his mum, she said.

Dr Duff said: “He was saying 'please can my mum be here for the search' and 'she’s just around the corner', 'you can search me but I want my mum to be here'.

“I was concerned about his welfare because he was clearly distressed.

“I was aware of the problems that are quite widely known about racial profiling with stop and search.

“I was concerned whether he was aware of his legal rights around stop and search.”

She tried to hand him a stop and search “know your rights” legal advice card but was arrested for obstructing a police officer and taken to Stoke Newington police station.

According to the hearing, the boy had a six inch serrated kitchen knife stashed in his sock at the time.

Sergeant Kurtis Howard, based at North East Basic Command Unit, is accused of breaching the professional standards of behaviour with regards to authority, respect and courtesy, orders and instructions and discreditable conduct for ordering the strip search as he was the custody sergeant in duty on May 3.

He denies the allegations and claims he believed Dr Duff could have had a weapon on her.

Dr Duff refused to give her name or address to any of the police officers at the custody suite or those involved in her arrest and claimed officers assumed she was a “bleeding heart lefty lawyer” as she engaged in “passive non violent civil rights resistance” by refusing to speak, move or co-operate.

She was charged with obstructing a police officer but was cleared at a trial in November 2013.

Dr Duff did not file a complaint until May 2014.

The MPS decided not to bring misconduct proceedings against the officers involved but Dr Duff appealed. She also launched a judicial review against the then Independent Police Complaints Commission.

She admits Sgt Howard should not be held responsible for the actions of the officers who searched her, that he was not acting aggressively towards her and her behaviour must have been “frustrating”.

But she insists he did not have legal grounds to subject her to a strip search.

“My mental health and my life were quite disrupted by the incident and the criminal proceedings.

“Something which is in my impact statement is how I experienced the strip search - being tied up, having my breasts and genitals touched by the officers, my earrings ripped out.

“I found that really humiliating and scary.

“You’ve seen the injuries. At the time I was doing this Masters. That gets completely suspended.

“For a short period of time I couldn’t pay my rent.

“I was experiencing a lot of flashbacks and intrusive thoughts specifically - I was suffering from panic attacks which I have counselling for now.

“I do still have flashbacks which are sometimes accompanied by an involuntary facial spasm and have been diagnosed with PTSD.”

View On Police Oracle

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Of course everyone carries around a number of "Know your rights legal advice cards. cards".  Was she looking for confrontation? Having been arrested and refusing any details or to be in any way co-operative the Custody Sergeant had little alternative to authorise a strip search. The search would be as much a case of safeguarding  her from harm or concealing  evidence of any kind. Had she been concealing something and had harmed herself or any other then heads would role.  The Sergeant would be on a hiding to nothing.

Here we have yet another case of a historical nature. The incident happened in May 2013 and had been dismissed once. Perhaps Dr. Duff is tryiong to make a name for herself.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Could have been worse for her.. she could have been confronted by someone pulling a 6" kitchen knife out their sock.

  • Like 10
Link to comment
Share on other sites

And we wonder why things are the way they are as discussed in other threads.

It’s getting beyond a joke.

There are some ‘outcomes’ I have noticed from the article.

1. Don’t interfere in things that have nothing to do with you (particularly when you are getting involved when officers are dealing with an armed criminal)

2. Don’t be silly and unreasonable 

3. If arrested (even if you disagree with it) don’t be silly and unreasonable. Things can be challenged properly at a later time.

4. If you don’t give details then how can the custody officer assess what risk you pose to yourself or others, especially when you have got involved with an armed criminal

As usual though, because she is an activist then the horrible police must be in the wrong. 

Particularly with point 4, where are the senior officers to point this out? 

  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm only a Special, but even I can see the justification for officers' actions at every stage of this - right through to the cell insertion.

That the MPS and the IPCC/IOPC/ABCD has entertained a review raises serious concerns for the competence of everyone involved in taking this case forward.

Edited by TheMoo
'serious concerns'
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just now, Indiana Jones said:

Only?

 

As opposed to a Regular PC or a Sgt. that has much more extensive knowledge of the law, procedures and PACE

For example, I know that it's entirely legal to take the person into a cell and strip them, if they're refusing to provide any details and you need to make sure they've got nothing on them that they could use to hurt themselves with while in custody (like cords or something sharp). I'm not sure if that's covered under s.32 of PACE, or another part that's more specific for custody.  

In this case, she's refused to speak to the officers at all (itself, a reason for the arrest because her name needs to be determined), and therefore the custody Sgt. that has ultimate responsibility for her safety while she's in there, needs to be sure she's not going to ram a stiletto heel through her eye or tie a ligature around her throat because she suffers from any of a myriad of psychiatric disorders. But if you wanted the exact wording for the 'D.I.E.' acronym that we were taught, I'd be fetching Blackstone's from the next room.

So, only. I'm fairly certain the PDs outrank me. 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

She intervenes in a situation where officers are searching a person committing a crime with a weapon quite capable of taking a life, and she wonders why she was arrested.  But to be fair she is rather pragmatic in relation to the custody Sgt's actions.  

In truth it sounds like another witch hunt. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

For example, I know that it's entirely legal to take the person into a cell and strip them, if they're refusing to provide any details and you need to make sure they've got nothing on them that they could use to hurt themselves with while in custody (like cords or something sharp).  

 

 Except that the strip search wasn’t lawful... 

The facts of the case that she was a gobby do-gooder whom interfered with police trying to search someone who turned out to have a knife. The offender would only have been carrying it if he intended to use it, yet she thought that the police were the bad guys.

 

She goaded and passively resisted police to such an extent that she got right up everyone’s nose. A strip searched was ordered in a manner that was seemingly in response to her obnoxious behaviour, as opposed to being ordered on the basis of a legitimate objective.

 

Refusing to provide details isn’t a lawful basis to strip search someone, no matter how unpalatable the behaviour of an individual might be.

 

It’s just a shame that the Custody SGT made the decision that they did.

 

 

 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I’ve actually worked with that sergeant, albeit never as a custody sergeant, and I was quite surprised to see his name in the report. He was always a level headed, chilled out supervisor when I had dealings with him so I hope he had sound reasoning and this comes to nothing.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I may be dumb, but I'm struggling to see how it isn't justified to search a non-compliant person who has obstructed a police officer where an armed suspect has been taken in. Especially if they have obstructed the police officers.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It really irks me when some members of society can’t handle not sticking their oar in to some “poor child”’s business. Guess what, we’re the police, we’ll decide who needs searched and not you. Another example of people with their heads so far up in the clouds that they would rather keep their principles and suffer degradation at their own hands, than just face up to the facts that the police have a job to do and the means to do that job don’t always look very nice. The information they have to make decisions with aren’t always the same as the information the public has.

It’s simple. Do what you’re told to do by the police. What did she honestly think would happen? We’d just ruffle her hair, call her scamp and tell her to run along?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, ParochialYokal said:

 Except that the strip search wasn’t lawful... 

The facts of the case that she was a gobby do-gooder whom interfered with police trying to search someone who turned out to have a knife. The offender would only have been carrying it if he intended to use it, yet she thought that the police were the bad guys.

She goaded and passively resisted police to such an extent that she got right up everyone’s nose. A strip searched was ordered in a manner that was seemingly in response to her obnoxious behaviour, as opposed to being ordered on the basis of a legitimate objective.

Refusing to provide details isn’t a lawful basis to strip search someone, no matter how unpalatable the behaviour of an individual might be.

It’s just a shame that the Custody SGT made the decision that they did.

Agreed. She clearly shouldn't have got involved but that's not the point. It all comes down to the custody Sgt's justification of why he believed that a strip search was required and proportionate. That isn't mentioned in the article. He might have had good reasoning but that's what his job hinges on at the moment.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 minute ago, Burnsy2023 said:

Agreed. She clearly shouldn't have got involved but that's not the point. It all comes down to the custody Sgt's justification of why he believed that a strip search was required and proportionate. That isn't mentioned in the article. He might have had good reasoning but that's what his job hinges on at the moment.

You’d like to think he’s written a word or two on the custody record and at some point in the hearing it will be dissected.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

She has been arrested for obstructing the search of an armed male. Without information to the contrary, who is to say they aren’t accomplices?

Furthermore, she has physically and verbally refused to co-operate and officers have no idea who she is. Without access to her markers, how is the custody sarge supposed to adequately risk assess her? The strip search is entirely justified in my view.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...

Police Community is a forum that is supported financially through advertisements. It is a breach of our standard use policy to use Adblock plugins/software on our site. 

In order to continue using our site you will need to disable Adblock across our site. Alternatively you can purchase a membership package from our online store to remove adverts as part of the membership subscription. 

https://police.community/remove-adverts/

Thank you for your support.

I have disabled Adblock