Former children’s TV presenter Baroness Floella Benjamin describes police harassment in Lords discussion on Black Lives Matter

Former childhood TV presenter Baroness Floella Benjamin today told peers how she was “aggressively questioned” by police in a discussion on Black Lives Matter.

Baroness Benjamin, 70, known to millions as the host of Play School and Play Away, also claimed that her teenage nephew was “brutally beaten” by police 20 years ago.

She described the harassment her family allegedly faced at the hands of police during a discussion on the recent protests.

The Liberal Democrat life peer told the House of Lords: “Fifty years ago I was stopped in my car and aggressively questioned by the police. My three brothers have all been stopped and searched aggressively.

The Liberal Democrat life peer described the harassment her family allegedly faced at the hands of police (PA)

“Twenty years ago my sixteen year old nephew was stopped and brutally beaten up in the back of a police van and then falsely charged.

“Shockingly in 2020 during the lockdown we saw excessive force being used on a black man who was tapered in front of his toddler.

“Today protests have shown we are at a tipping point. So what action is the government planning especially through education to reassure the black community – including children – that their lives matter?”

Baroness Liz Sugg, who was responding on behalf of the government, said: “On stop and search the government is clear that no-one should be stopped and searched based on their race or ethnicity.

“We are working with the College of Policing to update guidance on community engagement and scrutiny over the use of stop and search powers and ensuring that the law requires detailed records and scrutiny.”

Baroness Doreen Lawrence, the campaigner mother of murdered teenager Stephen Lawrence, added: “My Lords, no-one needs to tell me that black lives matters. This is an everyday occurrence to this part of our lives.”

She went on to ask what the government was doing to ensure Black Lives Matters was part of policy making.

The discussion was part of a Private Notice Question by Lord Collins of Highbury, who asked the government what representations they had made to the USA over their response to the protests in support of the Black Lives Matter movement following the death of George Floyd, and what are they doing to address racism, discrimination and injustice in the UK.


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