Islamic extremists are running “indoctrination” camps in Britain’s national parks, a senior police officer has warned. “Wherever there’s a national park, you’ll find them – the Yorkshire Dales, the Lake District, the West Highlands.”
Colin Cramphorn, the Chief Constable of West Yorkshire, says that the police need greater powers to combat the extremists’ efforts to radicalise young Muslims.
Mr Cramphorn, whose West Yorkshire force has played a leading role in the investigation into the July 7 bombings of London – the suicide bomber team was based on his patch – made his comments in an interview for The Spectator magazine.
Mr Cramphorn said: “Consider the training camps run in this country by the extremists. They’re not like IRA camps in Donegal where people are learning how to fire mortars. They’re actually pure indoctrination camps. It’s much more than just a few white-water-rafting trips in Wales.”
Mr Cramphorn, a former deputy chief constable of the RUC, voiced frustration at the extent of the authorities’ powers to combat such activities. He said that there might be lessons to be learned from the security and legal system evolved to tackle terrorism in Ulster. He added: “All we can do now is track them.”
Update: “The chief constable was using national parks as an analogy,” a West Yorkshire police spokeswoman explains. “He was not talking about camps as physical locations.”