London police ask watchdog to review latest stop of Portuguese sprinter

London’s Metropolitan police force said Monday it had referred itself to England’s policing watchdog after receiving a complaint over officers again stopping Portuguese sprinter Ricardo dos Santos.

The Metropolitan police said it made the referral to the Independent Office for Police Conduct “on a voluntary basis” in recognition of “the public interest” in the latest incident, which occurred on Sunday. 

“We await their views on how they may wish to take this forward,” the force said in a statement Monday, which added that “a public complaint” had been filed over the stop.

Black athlete dos Santos, a 400-metre record-holder, was stopped in Paddington, near central London, in the early hours of Sunday. 

He posted dashcam clips of the incident on Twitter, expressing annoyance and accusing the Met of policing overzealously, after seven armed officers had responded.

The force has said they stopped his vehicle amid concerns that he was using a mobile phone while driving.

In an initial statement released late Sunday, it added that armed officers who were on routine patrol had called for assistance after the driver of a car failed to pull over despite indications to do so.

“The officers spoke to him about why they wanted to stop the vehicle,” the Met said in the statement, which did not name dos Santos.

“Following the conversation the vehicle was allowed on its way,” it added.

The incident comes as five Met officers face disciplinary action following a previous stop-and-search of dos Santos and his partner, British sprinter Bianca Williams, two years ago.

Williams, a European and Commonwealth 100m gold medallist, has accused the force of racial profiling following the July 2020 stop, when the athletes’ young child was also in their car.

The Met later apologised after she disclosed that the couple had been repeatedly stopped.

The Independent Office for Police Conduct deals with police complaints in England and Wales and has been reviewing whether forces discriminate against ethnic minorities.