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Mother hits out at police as teenage girl 'was searched while on her period' 

Mother hits out at police as teenage girl 'was searched while on her period' 

 A mixed-race teenager was so traumatised after being strip-searched by police while on her period that she tried to kill herself, according to her family.

The mother of the 14-year-old has hit out at Scotland Yard after she was allegedly handcuffed and had her underwear cut from her in front of male officers.

It is the second time this year the Metropolitan Police has faced criticism over strip-searching children from ethnically diverse backgrounds. In March, the force apologised for an incident involving a 15-year-old black girl who was wrongly accused of having drugs.

In the latest case, the schoolgirl, who has autism and learning difficulties, had been out with friends, her mother told the BBC’s File on 4.

They had a row with two boys who called the police claiming they were the victims of an attempted knife-point robbery. Nothing was found on the girls but they were arrested and spent 20 hours in custody.

Her mother said the search in December 2020 was carried out after officers found a sharpened stick.

The teenager was later acquitted of possession of a bladed weapon.

A police inquiry has begun into the claims. 

The File on 4 programme is on Radio 4 at 8pm May 24.

The girl’s mother said: ‘Not only have they strip searched her, they’ve handcuffed her to do it.

‘They’ve pinned her to the floor. Olivia was actually on her period at the time too.

‘And they cut off her underwear in front of these grown male officers.’

A police inquiry has begun into the claims over the alleged strip-searches

A police inquiry has begun into the claims over the alleged strip-searches

She told the BBC: ‘(My daughter) became quite reclusive. She spent a lot of time in her room and she continued to self-harm in secret.

‘She was saying that she’s not going to be here any more and she’s not going to live to be an adult.

‘And then a few weeks later, she attempted to commit suicide.’

Figures obtained by the BBC reveal police have carried out more than 13,000 strip searches of young people under the age of 18 in the past five years.

Separate data shows two thirds of the children who have been strip-searched by the Metropolitan Police over the past three years were from ethnically diverse backgrounds.

But Met Deputy Assistant Commissioner Laurence Taylor told the BBC the disproportionality was due to ‘intelligence-led policing’.

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