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Police officers sacked after being found guilty of lying during search of Team GB athletes

Police officers sacked after being found guilty of lying during search of Team GB athletes

Bianca Williams and Ricardo dos Santos were pulled over by police in 2020

Two police officers have been sacked for gross misconduct after a 'highly distressing' stop and search of two Black athletes.

Team GB athlete Bianca Williams and her Portuguese partner, Ricardo Dos Santos, had been pulled over by police outside their property on 4 July, 2020.

The couple were handcuffed and searched on suspicion of having drugs and weapons but nothing was found.

A disciplinary panel heard accusations that Jonathan Clapham and Sam Franks followed the athletes as they drove home from training with their three-month-old baby son in the back of the car.

Bianca Williams and Ricardo Dos Santos with their son Zuri-Li Dos Santos.
Dave Benett/Getty Images for Sanderson Design Group

PCs Clapham and Franks claimed they followed the car because of Dos Santos' 'appalling' and 'suspicious' driving and had been doing their duty with the stop and search.

However, today (25 October) the panel found that Clapham and Franks had lied about smelling cannabis during the stop and search.

The two constables have been dismissed without notice after the panel judged that their actions during the stop and search amounted to gross misconduct.

Clapham and Franks were accused of racially profiling Dos Santos and Williams, along with fellow Met officers Acting Police Sergeant Rachel Simpson, PC Allan Casey and PC Michael Bond.

During the hearing all five officers denied accusations of racism.

While Clapham and Franks were sacked the other three officers were not found to have breached any standards.

Bianca Williams is a Team GB athlete.
Sam Mellish/Getty Images

After the disciplinary hearing, Dos Santos said 'very little has changed in policing in London since the Stephen Lawrence case'.

"The allegations made by the police officers that I was guilty of bad driving, threatening violence and drugs were dishonest, I believe these are false allegations and were based on racist stereotypes and show very little has changed in policing in London since the Stephen Lawrence case," he said after the hearing.

“If you can’t trust the police to be honest and accept when they have done bad and stereotype black people, what hope is there?

"I don’t believe that the panel has been brave enough to review what the Casey report has already clearly stated, which is that the Met Police is institutionally racist.

"This case has taken a big toll on our family and on our careers, but it’s crucial that those people who have a voice use it as those people who don’t suffer without being listened to."

Ricardo Dos Santos is a sprinter for Portugal.
Tim Clayton/Corbis via Getty Images

The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) brought the case against the officers and said Dos Santos and Williams had been stopped and searched 'because they were black', and that officers had acted in an 'excessive, unreasonable and unjustified' manner.

IOPC director, Steve Noonan, said the incident had caused 'widespread community concern about the use of stop and search powers by police'

He said: "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.

"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."

IOPC director Steve Noonan.

Matt Ward, Deputy Assistant Commissioner for the Metropolitan Police, said: "Honesty and integrity are at the core of policing and, as the panel has concluded, there can be no place in the Met for officers who do not uphold these values.

"Mr Dos Santos and Ms Williams deserved better and I apologise to them for the distress they have suffered.

He added that the panel’s findings showed they 'still have a long way to go to earn the trust of our communities, particularly our Black communities, when it comes to our use of stop and search'.

DAC Ward went on to say he was 'confident that the Met can and will learn from the experience'.

Featured Image Credit: Metropolitan Police

Topics: Crime, Sport, UK News, Racism, Politics