IPCC report on Forest Gate ignores the politicisation of policing
London, UK, February 13 2007 – The Independent Police Complaints Commission’s (IPCC) criticism of the Metropolitan police falls woefully short in its judgement regarding Forest Gate and other raids. The remit of the IPCC was solely to look at Scotland Yard's handling of the operation, ignoring the wider issue of the police and media succumbing to a wider political agenda. The report was severely critical of the raid describing it as a "terrifying experience" for those wrongfully arrested, who were "victims of failed intelligence". One innocent man was shot, and claims he was kicked in the face by a police officer, slapped and dragged down a stairway by his foot. The victim’s house was completely pulled apart by the police during the raid.
In addition to this, the media widely reported fictitious briefings about “chemical vests” and “bomb factories” and emotive talk that the bomb was to be used against fans watching the World Cup. These leaks were from either police or Home Office sources. As a consequence, immense damage was done to community relations, as the Muslim community was once again tarnished with the accusation of terrorism.
Commenting on today’s IPCC report, Dr Imran Waheed, media representative of Hizb ut-Tahrir Britain, said, “At the time, Tony Blair praised the police and intelligence services, and was raised no eyebrows at the media reporting, enjoying the distraction this provided from the disasters of his Iraq war.”
“There was once a presumption of innocence, trial in a courtroom and sentencing by a judge. There is now – for the Muslim community – a presumption of guilt, trial by media and the punishment of humiliation, demonisation and the ruin of peoples' reputation. The term ‘terrorist suspect’ has all the emphasis on ‘terrorist’, and none of the cautions of ‘suspect’. Against the backdrop of creeping state authoritarianism for all of society and anti-terror policies that disproportionately target one community, is there any wonder that some feel that Britain is becoming a police state for Muslims?”