The mother of two young daughters who have been left traumatised after being stopped and questioned by armed police is calling for the matter to be raised in Parliament.
Sandra Golding wants a system put in place to make sure no other innocent youngster or family has to go through the same shocking experience.
Her daughters 15-year-old Aisha and Kenyetta, aged nine, are waiting for a written apology from West Midlands Police after they were stopped by armed officers yards from their home near church Road in Aston, Birmingham at around 11am on August 25.
Aisha, who that day collected a clutch of A* grades in her GCSE results, was ordered to empty the contents of her shopping bag after police told her she matched the description of a gunman who had just robbed a nearby shop.
“Instead of apologising to the girls when they realised they had stopped the wrong people, they continued to terrorise them and that is what I find unforgivable,” said Sandra, a community development worker.
“We are from a structured family where the girls have always been taught to go to the police if they are in danger – but now they would be too scared.”
Sandra said that little Kenyetta had been particularly traumatised by the ordeal because she feared her older sister was going to be shot by the police.
“Kenyetta now doesn’t want to leave the house by the front door because from there you can see where they were stopped,” said Sandra. “I sent both girls to my brother’s home in Cambridge for a break and when they were away Kenyetta said she felt much better because she didn’t have to think about it. Now they are home she feels frightened again.
“I am currently arranging some family counselling. Aisha is in her final year of school and I don’t want this crucial year of her education to be ruined by this.
“What makes this all even more pointless is that I have been told the description of the robber was nothing like Aisha. The police acted on completely inaccurate information.”
Sandra is currently receiving advice from Ladywood MP Shabana Mahmood who has been to visit the family and she is also considering legal action.
“I would not want another innocent child to go through all this,” she said. “A system needs to be put in place to make sure it never happens again.
“I also want the girls to have a proper written apology from the police. I am determined for something positive to come from this.”
A spokesman for West Midlands Police said a call was received at 10.31am on August 25 from a shop worker reporting an armed robbery at their store in Lichfield Road, Aston.
He said: “It is alleged that someone had entered the store with what was believed to be a firearm, robbed the shop worker of the contents of the till and fled. Police were given a description of the suspect.
“In accordance with force policy and in response to the potential threat to the public, a firearms unit was also deployed as part of the search. Two of these firearms officers, who were in Church Road, Aston, around 20 minutes after the offence was committed, came across a young person fitting the description of the suspect wearing similar clothing.
“One of the officers carried out a ‘stop and account.’ It was quickly established that the person who had been stopped was not the suspect and a ‘stop and search’ was therefore not considered necessary and did not take place.
“The course of action and the rationale for the ‘stop and account’ as well as the presence of firearms officers, was explained thoroughly to the parent of the 15-year-old.
“While we were aware of a nine-year-old girl who was nearby during the encounter, at no point was she spoken to as part of this inquiry.
“The safety of the public is of paramount importance for West Midlands police and the force will respond robustly to any threat which could involve firearms being used on our streets.”