Police investigate after video shows officers question black couple on Ipswich driveway
- Credit: Archant
Suffolk police say they will investigate after a video on social media showed two officers questioning a black couple on an Ipswich driveway.
The video, viewed over a million times on Twitter, is filmed by a woman who is being questioned on a driveway by two officers, who said they needed to confirm that the couple were the drivers of a vehicle they had just parked by the house.
The woman filming becomes more upset as the officers offer several different reasons for why they need to see identification, saying they needed to confirm the ownership of the car because they were “driving a motor vehicle in the road”.
The male officer then says a neighbour had complained the couple had “paid him attention” and that they were just following up on that enquiry.
A female police officer at the scene says in the video: “You’ve turned something peaceful, by being irate, into something it shouldn’t be. You’ve just jumped on a bandwagon.”
The woman filming is comforted by her husband as she says: “This is disgusting, this is terrible, this is profiling.”
The female officer is seen to apparently smile and shake her head. It is understood the incident happened on Tuesday in the Lavender Hill area of Ipswich.
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At the end of the video the officers are seen apologising for the “way the situation has turned out”.
The daughter of the couple tweeted the video yesterday, saying: “Yesterday, my parents were stopped and questioned in their own driveway for ‘driving a motor vehicle on the road’, and ‘because they can’. It’s suspicious to walk from your car to your house, while black. The UK is not innocent.”
Deputy Chief Constable Rachel Kearton said: “Suffolk Constabulary is aware of the video circulating on social media involving two of our officers.
“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.”
Speaking later on Look East DCC Kearton said:“I could see the video as a stressful situation. It’s not unusual for policing to be dealing with that kind of environment.
“However, I was particularly concerned about the stress that I could see and the conversation that was being had with members of the public.
“I can tell you that it does appear to be a legitimate policing purpose that they were stopped for and the officers involved were using their police powers correctly as far as I could tell in terms of the reasons for the stop.
“It is clear to me that it has been a very upsetting incident.
“It has upset members of the constabulary as well as a large number of the public who have made their concerns known to Suffolk Constabulary in the last 24 hours.
DCC was also asked whether the couple would have been stopped in the same way if they had been white.
DCC kearton said: “I think that’s a very difficult question to answer because of course that wasn’t the situation that we found ourselves in.
“We do not tolerate any prejudice or discrimination.
“However, there are mistakes that are made and that is what we need to do to improve is work together with our communities, understand these issues and do better next time.”