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Labour’s Dawn Butler accuses Metropolitan Police of racial profiling after she is stopped in east London

The Brent Central MP said it was ‘tiring and exhausting and mentally draining’ to receive such treatment from the police. (PA)

3 min read

Labour’s Dawn Butler has accused police of “obviously racially profiling” her after she was stopped while being driven through east London.

The Brent Central MP filmed the incident, which took place in the London borough of Hackney on Sunday afternoon.

Ms Butler said she had been the passenger in a BMW driven by black male friend when it was pulled over by two Metropolitan Police cars.

A video shows the former shadow equalities minister 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."

The force said an officer had mistakenly identified the car as registered to an address in Yorkshire, and had sought to explain what had happened before the pair were allowed to move on. 

"It is tiring and exhausting and mentally draining if you're black and getting treated like that" - Dawn Butler

But Ms Butler told the Press Association: "It's obviously racial profiling.

"We know that the police is institutionally racist and what we have to do is weed that out. 

“We have to stop seeing black with crime. We have to stop associating being black and driving a nice car with crime."

And she told Sky News: "It is tiring and exhausting and mentally draining if you're black and getting treated like that. 

“Yes there are issues, but deal with it in an equitable way, in an unbiased way, not in a racist way.

"If you're profiling cars because they're not from the area that's a ridiculous way to police. 

“If you're stopping cars because of the make that's a ridiculous way to police. And if you're stopping cars because of the colour of the people inside them, that's racist."

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.”


Chief superintendent Roy Smith, the force’s BCU commander for North West London, said he had spoken to Ms Butler by phone.

And he added: “She has given me a very balanced account of the incident. 

“She was positive about one officer and gave feedback on others and the stop. 

“We are listening to those concerns and Dawn is quite entitled to raise them.”

Shaun Bailey, the Conservative candidate for mayor of London, meanwhile defended the actions of the police.

He said on Twitter: “I've been stopped and searched, Dawn.

“Yes, police make mistakes. But they're not racist.

“Instead of political attacks, let's improve relations between police and the communities they serve.”

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