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“Lights displayed” not “licence plate” says Met in response to outcry over video of officer stopping black cyclist

Whatever the officer said, many will still feel that neither had much to do with why police pulled him over

The Metropolitan Police have said that one of its officers told a young black man stopped while cycling last week that he had not got “lights displayed” and not that he did not have a “licence plate” on his bicycle.

Many social media users who watched footage of the incident posted to social media – and, we have to admit, those of us at – misheard the officer’s words as the latter.

While both seem unlikely terms to use, once pointed out it does sound much more like she said the phrase “lights displayed,” which is the less unlikely of the two to use, we suppose.

In a statement, the force also said that no further action would be taken in relation to a complaint it had received about the incident, which happened at around 2020 hours last Tuesday 30 June on Upney Road in Barking.

Police said that officers approached the man, who was riding his bike on the pavement, “and stopped him to discuss the manner of his cycling.

“He was asked where he was going and he said he was going home.

“The man was not searched, was not arrested and after a short time he was allowed on his way.”

The cyclist filmed part of the exchange with officers, in which a female officer said he had been stopped for “anti-social behaviour.”

He asked her, “ Does this look like anti-social behaviour to you?” and was told, “Well, the way you’re cycling around, at the moment you’re in and out of the road, on the pavement, on the road, not wearing a [mumbled], not wearing a helmet, not got your lights displayed, not got your hi-viz … ”

“So everyone who’s not wearing a helmet, it’s anti-social behaviour when riding a bike?” the cyclist replied.

In its statement issued today, the Met said: “Police are aware of a video circulating on social media showing an officer providing advice to the man.

“Contrary to some reports, we do not believe the officer in the video referenced a licence plate, but that she said the bike was being ridden without ‘lights displayed’.

“A public complaint was recorded due to comments made on social media and assessed by the Met’s Directorate of Professional Standards.

“This assessment concluded that the officers were perfectly justified in using their powers under the Road Traffic Act to stop the male due to the manner of his cycling, which was both unsafe and anti-social towards other road users.

“The officers were professional, and gave sound advice regarding safe cycling – the male was not wearing a helmet, was dressed all in black, and was not displaying lights in the dusk.

No further action has been taken,” police added.

Simon has been news editor at since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.

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