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IOPC investigates Suffolk officers after racial profiling complaint

The police conduct authority has launched an investigation into claims that a stop and search by Suffolk Constabulary involved racial profiling. Suffolk had referred the issue to the Independent Office for Police Conduct.

The IOPC is investigating a complaint of harassment and racial profiling after Suffolk Constabulary police officers stopped and questioned a couple in Ipswich on 9 June 2020.

The man who was stopped and questioned made a complaint about the incident the next day and footage of part of the incident was shared on social media.

After reviewing the incident, the force’s Professional Standards Department referred the matter to the IOPC on 19 June.

Ingrid Antoine-Oniyoke, 47, and her husband Falil Oniyoke, 50, from Watford were stopped on Tuesday (9 June) in Ipswich near Mrs Antoine-Oniyoke's mother's house.

The couple were asked to produce documents to prove identity and residence but during the video clip of the confrontation, an officer is heard to say they were "jumping on the bandwagon of the current climate”.

Suffolk Constabulary have now apologised to the couple.

In a public apology, DCC Rachel Kearton said: “Having looked at the issues raised by a large number of people, particularly regarding certain comments which were made on the video, we would like to apologise for the offence these have caused.”

“The constabulary is very aware of the depth of feeling surrounding the events of the last few weeks and the issues of racism in our society. We always try to ensure we police all our communities with dignity, respect and fairness. Where those values are not met we will do everything we can to learn from that.”

The IOPC assessed the incident as requiring an independent investigation which is in its early stages.

IOPC regional director Sarah Green said: “This incident has raised concerns about public confidence in policing and not least from Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities.

“To ensure the police are accountable for their actions it is important we establish all of the circumstances surrounding this incident. We will be examining the stop, whether the actions of the officers were appropriate and proportionate, followed approved police policies and whether the officers treated the man and his partner differently because of their race.”

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