London

Bianca Williams stop-and-search: Most police forces 'willing to learn'

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Media captionFootage of the stop was shared widely on Twitter after being posted by former Olympic 100m champion Linford Christie, who questioned why the vehicle had been targeted

The majority of police forces are "willing to learn" from their mistakes, a Government minister has said.

Crime and policing minister Kit Malthouse's comments come after British athlete Bianca Williams and her partner were pulled over by Met Police officers they accused of racial profiling.

It also comes after the Met's voluntary referral to the police watchdog.

Williams and partner Ricardo dos Santos had their baby son in the car then they were stopped in Maida Vale, on 4 July.

Watchdog the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) is investigating the incident.

The Met had said officers were patrolling the area in which the couple were stopped in response to an increase in youth violence.

But Ms Williams, a Commonwealth Games gold medallist, believes she and her partner were targeted because they are black and were driving a Mercedes.

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Image caption Bianca Williams won European and Commonwealth gold in the 4x100m relay in 2018

Three days after the incident, footage of which was shared widely on social media, the Met apologised to Ms Williams, 26.

The force also referred itself to the IOPC, despite two reviews by the force's directorate of professional standards concluding there had been no misconduct.

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Image caption Mr Dos Santos and Ms Williams say police handcuffed them while their son was in the car

Mr Malthouse was asked about the case on Times Radio Breakfast.

While declining to comment in detail due to the IOPC inquiry, he said: "Sometimes, hopefully [on a] small amount of occasions, mistakes are made.

"The critical thing is that the police have the structures and processes and the transparency to learn from mistakes.

"Now, the inquiry might say it was perfectly legitimate, I don't know yet, but at the same time, the key thing is that as an organisation across the country, the police are open and willing to learn, and I know that the vast majority are."

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