London’s Metropolitan Police has come under fire for posting a clip of its officers carrying out random drug swabs in Shoreditch.

In a tweet, the Met Police shared the footage and said officers were performing the tests on members of the public to ensure “the night time economy” is safe.

They explained: “Taskforce Officers were out recently doing drug swabs in Shoreditch as part of a wider operation to ensure the night time economy is a safe place for all.”

In the clip, a group of at least four predominantly white male officers can be seen talking to, searching and swabbing the hands of members of the public on the streets at night.

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Since it was posted, the video has drawn significant backlash not only from members of the public, but from journalists, those in politics, and other public figures.

Writer Ben Kelly, said: “Stabbings and assault are rife, but this is a priority? Horribly invasive and illiberal too.”

Global Drugs Editor for VICE World News, Max Daly, advised: “This doesn't look very legal. If a police officer asks you to do a drug swab for no reason, just refuse.”

London Assembly member Caroline Russell, asked: “Apart from whether this is even legal and the clear risks of disproportionality in application, how exactly does this pantomime reduce drug harm in the night time economy?”

Sunday Times journalist Hannah Al-Othman, commented: “I have a lot of questions.

- is this even legal?

- what are the grounds for swabbing people?

- how are people selected?

- what happens if someone tests positive but isn’t in possession?

- who thought it was a good idea to tweet this?”

The post certainly doesn’t seem to have done anything for the Met’s reputation, which has been significantly dented in recent times due to social media content like a weird crime advent calendar and women’s safety advice that didn’t hit the mark.

indy100 has contacted the Metropolitan Police for comment.

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