Labour MP accuses Met of racism after police stop

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Dawn Butler said she was pulled over by police while travelling through Hackney

A Labour MP has accused police of racism after she was stopped while travelling in a car in east London.

Former shadow equalities minister Dawn Butler tweeted she had been pulled over in Hackney and had recorded the stop.

In an interview with the Guardian, the MP for Brent Central described how the experience showed “the system is institutionally racist”.

The Met said the stop was a mistake caused by an officer incorrectly entering the car’s registration number.

The car was being driven by a male friend who is also black, Ms Butler told the Guardian, and it was pulled over by two police cars.

She told the paper officers said the car was registered in North Yorkshire and took the car keys while checking the registration.

They then admitted there had been a mistake, that it was registered to the driver, and apologised, the Guardian reported.

In a video of part of the stop at about 12:00 BST on Sunday, she is heard telling the 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.”

One of the officers in the video tells her: “I appreciate everything you say and I do apologise for wasting your time.”

In her interview Ms Butler told the Guardian: “It makes you realise that there’s something really not right with the system.”

‘Listening’ to concerns

Ch Supt Roy Smith tweeted earlier to say he had spoken to the MP who had “given me a very balanced account of the incident”.

The Met Police officer added the force “are listening” to concerns she had about the police stop and the officers involved and she was “quite entitled to raise them”.

In a statement the police force said: “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.

“No searches were carried out on any individuals.”

The force said “one of the occupants” had been contacted by a senior officer and they had discussed “subsequent interaction as well as feedback regarding the stop”.

It added: “We would welcome the opportunity to discuss this matter further with the occupants if they wish to do so.”

The BBC has contacted Ms Butler for comment.

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