Rev. Pam Searle, Minister of Sutton Baptist Church and a member of the LB Justice Hub, writes a response to the appalling treatment of Child Q....
Since the killing of George Floyd bringing to the fore a lifetime of racism, many have seen, read and witnessed the injustice of black and brown people. The report of the traumatic strip search of a 15-year-old black girl in her school in Hackney London. It has left many crying out for justice.
The London Baptist Racial Justice Hub would like to add its voice in the outcry. Crying out for justice to a God who made all people equal. To a police force who seem to be acting out of control. To an education system that seems complicit.
When an apology is not enough!
We are led to understand that an apology has been issued by Det. Superintendent Dan Rutland.
We ask that changes in our country's safeguarding policy for children and vulnerable adults be made where this must never happen again to a black child. Highlighting how the force see black children.
The report, published earlier, said the “traumatic” search took place at the girl’s school in Hackney, East London, without an appropriate adult present of course, causing outrage and necessary protests across the country and across social media. We join the protest to our Lord Jesus that he who is immeasurably able change hearts as to how they see black and brown children.
We ask why the school did not protect child Q and why upon calling the police were her parents or guardians not alerted first. School must be a safe space for our children and not a place to attend in fear. What Child Q experienced no child should have to experience. This was a degrading and dehumanising act performed on a child whilst on her menstrual cycle, by the very force that is in place to protect all.
In response to the outcry, the commander of the Metropolitan Police in Hackney, Marcus Barnett, has admitted that the Met has indeed got a problem with police officers viewing inner London children as “adults”, adding to their inappropriate search that what happened to Child Q would most probably not have happened to a child living in the Cotswolds, as an example.
We must thank God that we live in a multi-ethnic city. We ask Jesus that our cultural differences be acknowledged and celebrated instead of feared.
It was for many a hard pill to swallow having watched the murder of George Floyd in America, on social media; but to be alerted that this strip search took place on a black child, in the same year and not in a different country to us, but in our own country on our own doorstep shows the indifference of our own police force.
What can we as Churches do?
We must be working towards making all our Churches racially aware,
We must pray, pray for Child Q and her family., as they attempt to navigate the legal system and public media
We must be praying for change, a change in a policing system that does not see black children as children.
We must ask that the officers who performed the strip search on Child Q see the error of their behaviour and resign and if they do not see their disgraceful act as gross misconduct then they be removed from post.
We must pray that the school respond with measures that will ensure that this cannot and must not occur again, that the headteacher be part of the change and appropriate and thorough training be given to all the teachers involved in this disgraceful incident.
As we pray please pray that our God who is a just God be with Child Q and the family as they try to heal from this horrific incident.