‘What’s that smell? It’s her knickers’: Moment Nottingham University lecturer is mocked during strip search – as it emerges Met cops who ridiculed her are still serving and other officers call her treatment ‘sickening’
- Scotland Yard apologises to university lecturer after ‘sexist’ strip-search
- Dr Konstancja Duff sued after being subjected to the ‘degrading’ examination
- Held for intervening in arrest of boy, 15, by trying to hand him legal card
- Met forced to pay her compensation after CCTV shows officers calling her ‘rank’
This is the shocking moment police ridiculed an academic during a strip search, describing her as ‘rank’ in an horrific ordeal that yesterday saw the Met apologise.
The video showed assistant professor of philosophy at Nottingham University Dr Konstancja Duff humiliated by the treatment in 2013.
It came as one serving officer claimed similar treatment was still going on in the force.
And while one of the police workers has left others are still working in the Met.
Sergeant Sgt Kurtis Howard is still serving after being cleared of gross misconduct and can be seen in the footage of Stoke Newington police station.
He told officers to show her ‘resistance is futile’ and to search her ‘by any means necessary’. He added: ‘Treat her like a terrorist. I don’t care.’
Dr Duff was then bound by three female officers in a cell, before being pinned down and having her clothes ripped off with scissors.
After the search, they walked into the reception room before a policeman said: ‘Didn’t find anything untoward on her, ladies?’.
One of the women said: ‘A lot of hair.’
Another of the officers laughed. Two policemen went through her stuff, with one saying: ‘Sorry, sorry, what’s that smell?’.
His co-worker said: ‘Oh, it’s her knickers, yeah?’. A female officer entered the room and said: ‘Ugh, I feel disgusting; I’m going to need a shower.’
A man from the force hit back: ‘You need defumigating.’
One of the women said: ‘Is she rank?’ The female officer said: ‘No, she’s not actually.’
Another policeman replied: ‘She is, her clothes stink.’ The woman added: ‘Is it? Her body isn’t.’
Shocking footage was released showing staff calling Dr Duff ‘rank’, discussing her ‘smelly knickers’ and the amount of hair on her body
Insp Andy O’Donnell, from the Met’s directorate of professional standards, told Dr Duff: ‘I would like to take this opportunity to sincerely and unreservedly apologise for the sexist, derogatory and unacceptable language used about you’
Dr Konstancja Duff, an assistant professor of philosophy at Nottingham University, sued after being subjected to the ‘degrading’ examination and ‘sexualised mockery’ at Stoke Newington police station (pictured nearer the time)
Yesterday after an eight-year battle Scotland Yard apologised to Dr Duff for the ‘sexist, derogatory and unacceptable language’ as she was strip-searched.
The appalling treatment sparked widespread condemnation and debate.
This morning a serving male officer texted Women’s Hour: ‘The treatment Dr Duff was treated to was sickening, I am appalled.
‘Unfortunately even nine years later there still exists officers that would make comments like that
‘The only way we can change it is by calling out those that do wrong
‘Please keep highlighting behaviours like this. It might make my job harder in the short term but in the long term the benefit will be a better police service.’
Pictured is an example of a ‘know your rights’ card that would have been similar to that issued by Dr Duff during the incident in May 2013
The Met Police has been forced to pay her compensation after shocking CCTV was released showing officers calling her ‘rank’, discussing her ‘smelly knickers’ and the amount of hair on her body
A photo shows the injuries that Dr Duff said she sustained during the incident
Dr Duff was held for intervening in the arrest of a boy of 15 by trying to hand him a card listing his legal rights in May 2013. The teenager, who has not been named, was later found to have a 6in knife in his sock in Hackney.
The Met Police has been forced to pay her £6,000 compensation after the shocking CCTV was released showing the officers.
Speaking to The Guardian, Dr Duff said: ‘There was such a barrage of misinformation that they put out that I actually, even though I was there and I knew that it was false, had almost started to doubt myself.
‘It was such an effective gaslighting: ‘We were just concerned for your mental health, that was why we had to – for your own good – forcibly strip you naked and mash you up’.
‘It was so obviously not what they were doing at the time. They were doing it as punishment, they were doing it as intimidation, they wanted to soften me up and get my details.’
Police originally claimed they acted with professionalism after the philosophy professor refused to give her name.
Sgt Howard was cleared of gross misconduct by a disciplinary panel in 2018 after claiming his actions were needed to asses any risk she posed to herself.
The Met Police has not said where any other officers have been probed but said claims against individual officers have been put to the professional standards directorate.
Speaking to The Guardian, Dr Duff said: ‘There was such a barrage of misinformation that they put out that I actually, even though I was there and I knew that it was false, had almost started to doubt myself’
The Met will also pay Dr Duff compensation for the horrific way she was treated at Stoke Newington police station (pictured) in northeast London
The force has issued an apology and will compensate her following her civil case against them.
Insp Andy O’Donnell, from the Met’s directorate of professional standards, told her: ‘I would like to take this opportunity to sincerely and unreservedly apologise for the sexist, derogatory and unacceptable language used about you and for any upset and distress this may have caused.
‘I hope that settlement of this claim and this recognition of the impact of what happened that day will enable you to put this incident behind you.’
A spokesman for the Met said: ‘In November 2021, the Met settled a claim following the arrest of a woman in Hackney in May 2013.
‘We have sincerely apologised to the complainant for the language used while she was in custody and any distress caused.
‘Following the conclusion of the civil claim, allegations of misconduct relating to these comments were referred to our Directorate of Professional Standards and are currently being investigated. This investigation remains ongoing.’
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