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Young Black Business Owner Describes ‘Traumatising and Humiliating’ Met Police Stop & Search Experience

Josh King said police told him he was stopped simply because he had a ‘nice car’

Josh King speaks out about being stopped and searched by the Met Police
Josh King has spoken out about a ‘traumatising and humiliating stop and search experience Photo: Supplied

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A young black owner of an electrical contractor business stopped and searched on his way home from work by Met Police officers who allegedly told him he “didn’t look like” an electrician has described the experience as “traumatising and humiliating”.

Despite being just 23, Josh King employs 15 staff at KK Electrical Contractor Limited and inspires youngsters into construction work with motivational TikTok videos posted on his account.

Earlier this week a video taken by a member of the public went viral showing King and three colleagues – all wearing company-branded clothing – being dragged out of their car by police, and handcuffed while officers searched them. One of the men was arrested for carrying an electrician’s knife.

King’s 90-minute ordeal last September came around six months after Baroness Casey’s report into The Met called for a “reset” on the force’s stop-and-search policy, saying black people aged between 11 and 61 were at least three and a half times more likely to be stopped than white people in London every year since 2016.

King acknowledged police have a “difficult job”, but said the way they dealt with him and his workmates was “not acceptable”.

“So many [black] people face the same experience and loads have been reaching out to tell me it has happened to them, ” he told Byline Times. “Thankfully what happened to us was captured on camera. How many [black people] are stopped and searched but don’t have that? It’s scary.”

King said despite coming from a deprived area he has been “blessed to be on the right path” and is trying to get young people into work, yet, “I’m still being looked at as a criminal because of how I look, which is wrong.” He added: “The police should have shown us more respect.”

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King, from Peckham, Southeast London, qualified as an electrician aged 20 and his firm manages electrical fitouts for office projects around the southeast. With most of the materials provided, King sometimes uses his black Mercedes CLA to get to and from work and fills the boot with tools.

On 13 September 2023, King and his colleagues were driving through Clapham, on the way back from a job in Guildford, Surrey, when they were stopped by officers in a police van parked by the side of the road.

King couldn’t understand why he had been stopped, and when he asked, “they dragged us out, and put us in handcuffs. They took us into their van, searched us and made us take off our shoes. It was humiliating.”

He said officers told him they didn’t check his car registration, and had simply stopped him “because I had a nice car”.

“They don’t know my story, or who I am. Why can’t I drive a nice car? It’s not a reasonable explanation. It made me feel upset,” King explained, adding that one officer event commented that the group “don’t look like electricians” despite being in their work uniforms, and in possession of construction cards.

“It’s crazy – what does an electrician look like? What does a doctor look like? What does a lawyer look like? It was blatant racism. It’s wrong.”

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Because the men had packed up quickly on site to avoid traffic, one of King’s 20-year-old colleagues had an electrician’s lock knife in his pocket. The men explained it was used for cutting thick electrical cables, but the youngster was arrested on suspicion of possessing an offensive weapon.

“They were waving the knife about to passers-by as if to justify their actions. It was embarrassing,” King said.

King and two of his colleagues were let go, but the workmate with the lock knife, who declined to be named, was held for 24-hours. On 11 January he was told he would face no further charges.

King said his workmate was “really distressed” by the situation, having “never been in trouble in his life”.

King, who has never been stopped and searched before, says he would like The Met to say sorry for the “traumatising experience”, and give him the opportunity to work with the force to help reduce crime.

Speaking directly to Met Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley, King said he was not “slagging off the police” by speaking out, and acknowledges the capital has an “issue” with knife crime, but he hopes to turn this “negative into a positive”.

King wants to help the Met “in a small way to tackle knife crime by inspiring young people to change their lives through working in construction.

“I want to speak about how I became someone who employs 15 staff, pays taxes, works by the book, having been working since I left school at 16. “If the police can supply classes for me to speak to young people [at risk of falling into knife crime] and give them advice and direction, I would do it.”

Commander Claire Smart, responsible for the Met Taskforce, said the group was searched after a passenger in the car “was seen attempting to hide a lock knife in a door compartment following a traffic stop”.

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“Possession of a lock knife can be illegal and officers thought the man’s attempt to hide it was suspicious,” she explained, before adding that the Crown Prosecution Service had later decided he should face no further action.

Smart continued: “When done right, stop and search is an effective tool and officers take 4,000 dangerous weapons off our streets every year as a result of this tactic.

“We know nonetheless stop and search has a significant impact on our communities which we are keen to better understand.”

Smart said despite no formal complaint being made, she would “welcome the opportunity” to meet King to discuss the matter further and hear his concerns.



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