Racial profiling lobby would provoke breakdown in community relations

In a statement today Mayor of London Ken Livingstone said:

“It is important that anti-terrorism policing in London is intelligence-led and targets those engaged in terrorist activity. As Sir Ian Blair has repeatedly stressed community support is essential to isolate and bring to justice terrorists.

“Racial profiling as increasingly advocated in some sections of the media is a totally opposite strategy. It alienates entire communities by making them potential suspects. That would destroy the community confidence on which our defences against terrorism depend and fuel a sense of injustice amongst young people affected by it.

“It will also legitimise outbursts of racism which destroy good community relations. If the media and some politicians are allowed to put whole communities under suspicion, then incidents like the passengers who demanded that two entirely innocent Asian men be removed their plane, or the family who were apparently turned away from the London Eye because they spoke Arabic, will become common.

“If those kind of incidents are tolerated they will provoke precisely the breakdown in community relations which the terrorists and the extreme right want to see.”

GLA press release, 22 August 2006