Boris Johnson says police must act with ‘fairness and equality’ after Labour’s Dawn Butler accuses Met of racially profiling her
Dawn Butler has accused the Met police of racial profiling following an incident on Sunday (PA)
Boris Johnson has said police must ensure they treat all Brits with “fairness and equality” after Labour’s Dawn Butler claimed she had been a victim of racial profiling.
But the Prime Minister stopped shorting of agreeing with Ms Butler's claim that the Metropolitan Police are “institutionally racist”, after the car she was travelling in was stopped in east London on Sunday.
Officers claimed the BMW, which was being driven by a black male friend, was registered in North Yorkshire and so took away the keys while they ran further checks.
However, it later transpired that officers had made a mistake when entering the car’s details prior to the stop and that the vehicle was registered to the driver.
In a video shared by the Labour MP shortly after the incident, Ms Butler can be heard telling officers: "It is really quite irritating.
"It's like you cannot drive around and enjoy a Sunday afternoon whilst black, because you're going to be stopped by police."
Responding to the incident, Mr Johnson said: “The police have made a statement saying that they made a mistake. They have spoken to the occupants of the car.
"But it’s obviously very, very important that the Met continue to do everything that they can, as indeed they do, to show that they are serving every part of our country, every part of our community, with fairness and equality.”
However, a spokesperson for Number 10 later said Mr Johnson did not believe that the Met remained "institutionally racist" as an organisation, a term that was used about the force in the wake of the racist murder of Stephen Lawrence in the 1990s.
The Downing Street spokesperson said: "I don’t think the PM would take that view of the Metropolitan Police.
"The Met, like police forces across England and Wales are working very hard tackling issues as knife crime and drugs.”
Ms Butler hit back at the PM’s comments, telling the Press Association: “The problem is that currently every part of the community is not being served with fairness and equality.
“The police are policing not on intelligence or reasonable suspicions, they are using bias and they are stereotyping and they are making assumptions.
“That is not helping society and it is also not helping communities that we need to engage with.”
Meanwhile, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer, a former director of public prosecutions, confirmed he had spoken to Ms Butler about the incident.
“I reached out yesterday to @DawnButlerBrent to discuss the incidence she reported and to offer our support," he tweeted.
"All allegations of racial profiling must be taken extremely seriously by the Metropolitan police.”
“It is imperative that the Black community have trust and confidence in our police. The abuse Dawn has received over social media is wrong and must be condemned.”
REGISTRATION 'ENTERED INCORRECTLY'
In a statement, the Metropolitan Police said: “At approximately midday on Sunday, 9 August, police stopped a vehicle in Hackney.
“Prior to stopping the vehicle, an officer incorrectly entered the registration into a police computer which identified the car as registered to an address in Yorkshire.
“Upon stopping the vehicle and speaking with the driver, it quickly became apparent that the registration had been entered incorrectly and was registered to the driver in London.
“Once the mistake was realised the officer sought to explain this to the occupants; they were then allowed on their way.
They added: “No searches were carried out on any individuals.
“One of the occupants has since been contacted by a senior officer and they have discussed the stop, subsequent interaction as well as feedback regarding the stop.
“We would welcome the opportunity to discuss this matter further with the occupants if they wish to do so.”
PoliticsHome provides the most comprehensive coverage of UK politics anywhere on the web, offering high quality original reporting and analysis: Subscribe