One of the UK’s first female British-Ghanian MPs says it is “time to look at unconscious bias within the police system” after a fellow black politician was stopped by police while travelling in a car in east London.

Erith and Thamesmead MP Abena Oppong-Asare spoke in support of Labour colleague Dawn Butler after the Met Police pulled the latter over while she was travelling with a friend on Sunday.

Ms Butler accused the police of racial profiling and subsequently called for a “system change”.

Speaking on Monday, Ms Oppong-Asare said the incident was similar to what  “happens on a daily basis to many black people”, and urged “robust action” to address wider “racial inequality”.

“I agree with (Ms Butler) that the system needs to change,” Ms Oppong-Asare told the local democracy reporting service.

“I am sorry to hear of her experience this weekend which I am afraid happens on a daily basis to many black people.


“Figures show that black people are 40 times more likely to be stopped and searched in England and Wales.

“I stand with Dawn and many others demanding justice and change. It’s time to look at unconscious bias within the police system.

“There are serious issues of racial inequality in society and these won’t change unless robust action is taken.”

The Met afterwards apologised and said the stop was a mistake caused by an officer incorrectly entering the car’s registration number.

Ms Butler, who is the member for Brent Central, told the BBC: “I still don’t know why they punched the number plate into the system.

“I don’t know what raised their suspicion. All I know is I’m black, my friend was black and he has a fairly decent car.”

Ms Butler, who filmed the incident on her phone as it happened, said she had already spoken to her local borough commander and further meetings were planned in a bid to address the wider issue.

Chief Supt Roy Smith, the Met Police Commander in North West London, tweeted on Sunday that he had spoken with the MP and that she had given him “a very balanced account of the incident”.

“We are listening to those concerns & Dawn is quite entitled to raise them,” he said.