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Blues and Twos - Police & Law Blog is a an amalgamation of thoughts, feelings and observations on news, current affairs and UK policing in general. Our police blog has contributions from officers of the rank of Inspector (Organ Grinder) down to Constable (Monkey). Blues and Twos - The Police Officer's Blog

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Monday, August 21, 2006

Genetic Profiling

Genetic profiling of terror suspects has been in and out of the press this last few days.

First we had Metropolitan Police Chief Superintendent Ali Desai, quoted as saying that genetic profiling of terror suspects had created a new offence of "travelling whilst Asian".

Then we had Tarique Ghaffur, Assistant Commissioner in the Metropolitan police, (Britain's top muslim police officer) warning that anti-terrorism laws are discriminating against Muslims and law enforcement agencies are running a "real risk" of criminalising ethnic minorities.

This was countered initially by the Met's Superintendent rep, Chief Superintendent Simon Humphrey, who said it was 'wholly unacceptable' to paint Asians as victims and accused police chiefs who do so of undermining the efforts of their colleagues. His remarks appear to be aimed at Assistant Commissioner Tarique Ghaffur and Chief Superintendent Ali Dizael.

Then Alan Gordon, Vice-Chairman of The Police Federation of England and Wales, published a press release on the whole genetic offender profiling subject. I think this is the best re-buff I've read in a while - See below!

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Picture the scene. Thousands of young men file past through security at the nation’s airports, watched with an eagle eye by awaiting police officers. Several aged between 18 and 40 of a certain ilk are stopped having been racially profiled.

But this is not the nightmare scenario Metropolitan Police Chief Superintendent Ali Dizaei is so repulsed by. This is not the profiling of young British Muslims. This was the summer exodus of England fans on the way to watch the World Cup in Germany. Predominately young white males dressed in a certain way.

The reality is that profiling in one form or another has always existing in policing and football hooligans are only one example. Probably the safest airline in the world is the Israeli carrier El Al and they have profiled passengers for years. What’s more, it speaks volumes that a television news crew I spoke to recently said the vast majority of people they had spoken to at Heathrow Airport – British Muslims included – did not oppose the need for profiling.

I have no doubt that the Home Secretary predicted negative knee-jerkism at the slightest hint of profiling, but it is a sad state of affairs that this has come from a high ranking police officer at such a sensitive time. In dismissing profiling before making a dispassionate analysis of the evidence – good and bad; positive and negative – I fear Mr. Disaei is displaying the same mindset as his colleague Metropolitan Assistant Commissioner Tarique Gaffur: blissful ignorance.

Cheap, sensationalist soundbites about creating an offence of “travelling while Asian” are only likely to inflame moderate Muslim opinion and thus play into the hands of the terrorist. Yes, this is a difficult and emotive debate. But it is a debate we must have.

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Fight, fight, fight, fight...........

Can't wait to read what comes out of the Desai / Ghaffur camp next!

Genetic Profiling

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