Boris Johnson has defended the Metropolitan Police and rejected suggestions they are “institutionally racist” after a car carrying a black MP was pulled over.
The prime minister said the police must act with “fairness and equality” after Dawn Butler accused officers of racial profiling.
He said the force had acknowledged it made a mistake and must “continue to do everything that they can” to show they were serving every part of the community.
But asked if he agreed with Ms Butler that the service was “institutionally racist”, the prime minister’s official spokesperson said: “No, I don’t think the PM would take that view of the Metropolitan Police.
“The Met, like police forces across England and Wales, is working very hard tackling issues such as knife crime and drugs.”
The former shadow equalities secretary was the passenger in a BMW driven by a friend, when they were stopped by police in Hackney, east London, at the weekend.
Ms Butler, who filmed the encounter, said the decision to pull the car over was “obviously racial profiling”, adding that the police were “institutionally racist”.
Her party leader Sir Keir Starmer said all allegations of racial profiling had to be “taken extremely seriously” by the Metropolitan Police.
Responding to Mr Johnson’s comments, Ms Butler said: “The problem is that currently every part of the community is not being served with fairness and equality.
“The police are policing not on intelligence or reasonable suspicions, they are using bias and they are stereotyping and they are making assumptions.
“That is not helping society and it is also not helping communities that we need to engage with.”
Scotland Yard said the stop occurred after an officer wrongly identified the vehicle as registered in Yorkshire. However, it did not explain why the search was carried out in the first place.
Meanwhile, the Metropolitan Police Federation said officers wanted to publish footage they had filmed of the incident.
The federation, which represents rank and file officers, said: “Our colleagues want to be able to share their body-worn video of the incident and as a federation, we are calling for this to happen.”