Police ‘must single out Muslims’

Muslims are certain to be singled out in police stop-and-search operations in the wake of the bombings, ministers have warned. Home Office Minister Hazel Blears gave her backing to a British Transport Police chief who vowed that his officers will not shy away from targeting Asians because they came from a group most likely to present the gravest threat. Chief constable Ian Johnston told a Sunday newspaper: “We should not bottle out over this. We should not waste our time searching old white ladies.”

Civil liberties groups attacked Mr Johnson, claiming that “racial profiling” could undermine race relations. But the Metropolitan Police and BTP believe that targeted stop and searches are vital at a time of high alert. Ms Blears said: “If your intelligence tells you that you’re looking for somebody of a particular description, perhaps with particular clothing on, then clearly you’re going to exercise that power in that way. That’s absolutely the right thing to do.”

Evening Standard (London), 1 August 2005