A Range Rover driver who was handcuffed and faced with a Taser during a stop and search in south east London was racially profiled by the police, a watchdog has found.

The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) said on Wednesday that one officer had a case to answer for misconduct due to bias linked to the man’s race.

The black driver, aged 27, was stopped on the Old Kent Road, Southwark, on May 2 last year, then placed in handcuffs while the black Range Rover and three passengers were searched for drugs.

During the stop the officer also used the red-dot function on his Taser – an aiming dot that shines on the person the stun gun is pointed at.

The IOPC upheld complaints that the driver had been racially profiled, that the officer had failed to provide adequate reasons for a stop and search, and that he failed to wear proper personal protective equipment to stop the spread of Covid.

Met bosses have agreed that the issues will be dealt with internally, and that the officer should “focus on what constitutes reasonable grounds for stop and search and consider the impact of the disproportionate use of stop and search on black and minority ethnic communities”.

The IOPC rejected the driver’s complaints that excessive force was used, that damage was caused to his car and mobile phone and that officers failed to observe data protection rules.

However it did find that the officer could have de-escalated the situation rather than handcuffing the man and using the red dot on his Taser.

IOPC regional director Sal Naseem said: “Stop and search is an important policing tool but can also be very intrusive and affect the trust and confidence that black communities have in the police service.

“It is vital it is used with care. Our investigation found evidence that racial bias played a part in an officer’s decision to stop the member of the public and the officer will now have to reflect and learn from this.

“It is this sort of incident that can undermine the legitimacy of stop and search as a policing tactic.

“For those members of the community affected disproportionally by the use of stop and search, they must have confidence that racial bias plays no part in how this policing power is used.”