POLICE have agreed to consult a panel of Muslim leaders before mounting counter-terrorist raids or arrests. Members of the panel will offer their assessment of whether information police have on a suspect is too flimsy and will also consider the consequences on community relations of a raid.
Members will be security vetted and will have to promise not to reveal any intelligence they are shown. They will not have to sign the Official Secrets Act.
The first panel, expected to consist of four people, will be set up initially in London. Tomorrow representatives from police forces across England and Wales will decide whether to make the scheme national.
Muslim groups have welcomed the move, which is understood to be backed by Sir Ian Blair, the Metropolitan police commissioner.
This week the Association of Chief Police Officers will discuss with MI5 and the Home Office whether to reveal to the panel intelligence information from the security service.
The idea came from the Metropolitan police and the Muslim Safety Forum (MSF), which works for better police-Muslim relations. It has been under discussion for two years and came to the top of the agenda after a police raid in Forest Gate, London, in June, in which a man was shot. Police were acting on a tip-off about a bomb. None was found.
Azad Ali, chairman of the MSF, said: “The major concern that came to us from Muslims was that the intelligence was flawed — the raid was on assumption and nothing else. This will allow independent scrutiny of intelligence.”
My prior post on the issue addressed the chairman’s ‘concerns’:
Right. If British Muslims were so “keen” on helping the police, maybe the police wouldn’t have conducted a raid on a home that didn’t contain the chemical weapon they thought it did in the first place!
This idea is so ridiculous that it defies logic. Let’s hope for the sake of the British people that there are no Mohammed Attas on that panel of “Muslim leaders.”
Scratch that. Considering this, let’s hope for OUR sakes, too, that there are no Mohammed Attas on that panel.
Hat tip: Malkin