Any child under 18 stopped by the police in Waltham Forest could have their information stored in a police database if new proposals go ahead.

Parents in the borough are concerned that, even if no further action is taken by police after an innocent child is stopped, children’s data could be stored for intelligence purposes and follow-up visits by officers to family homes could be on the horizon.

At a Stop and Search meeting last night, Aimee Farquhar, a mother and member of the borough’s Stop and Search board, explained her 12-year-old son was previously stopped by police and no further action was taken.

She is now worried the new proposed referrals process could see his name and address used in future and could lead to officers completing “check up” visits to her home and even social services involvement.

Rickisha, a member of the Youth Independent Advisory Group who also attended the meeting, said: “I’m worried this is yet another angle to build an intelligence database, which doesn’t seem justified.

“Speaking from the perspective of a young person, I think other services are better placed to tackle the issue.”

Inspector Marcus Walton, of the Metropolitan Police in Waltham Forest, tried to reassure residents about the proposals.

He said: “You hold us to account and long may that continue. There has been an increase in violence in London and we can’t do everything ourselves.

“The vast majority of stop and searches are uncontested, most are covered by body worn cameras and are largely positive engagements.

“We are concerned about [children’s] welfare.”

The Inspector explained the Met’s policy was to record under 18s’ names and addresses and fill out a “come to notice” form whenever a child is stopped.

He explained this allows the police to spot patterns. If the same child has been stopped multiple times or has been found to be carrying weapons or drugs on a number of occasions, other relevant services, such as the council or social services, can be informed.

He added if a child is thought to be involved in gang activities, that child can be treated as a victim of grooming and/or exploitation by older gang members.

The police can then take relevant action and can even arrest older gang members on abduction charges if they are seen to be hanging around with the child again.

But Ms Farquhar was not convinced and repeatedly asked what need there was to take names and addresses or conduct follow up visits to homes of children if no further action was taken at the time of the stop.

Adé Solarin, Waltham Forest Council's community safety team manager covering gangs and serious youth violence, tried to reassure the mother and said: “This is still very much in its infancy. We haven’t even had a meeting with the Met about this.

“Nothing can be done without the Local Authority’s permission.”

He added, the aim behind these proposals was to ensure children’s protection.

A representative from Waltham Forest Council added: “The Violence Reduction Partnership is committed to working closely with all agencies and community groups to tackle youth violence, and that also means working together to make sure our residents’ concerns are heard and addressed through public scrutiny.

“The Stop and Search meeting, held on July 8 2019, was an opportunity for all interested members of the public to hold the police to account with regards to police stop and search powers, assurance around data security and application of the Metropolitan’s Territorial Support Group, to make sure that public safety is ensured though careful, judicious application of legal enforcement.”