Air security: “If people are stopped simply for the sake of balance, whether in terms of gender, age or race, the powers will not be used in the most effective way — or in the fairest way”
The discussion about the absurdity of frisking Grandma in order for air security to appear “fair” (Fair to whom? Not Grandma) about counter-terror measures is taking place across the pond as well. In any country, not targeting resources to acknowledge the more probable source of the threat is not only wasteful, but reduces security efforts to playing a blindfolded game of chance. “Police ‘should ignore racial balance in stop and searches’,” by Martin Bentham for the Evening Standard, July 18 (thanks to JG):
Police conducting counter-terrorism stop and searches at airports should abandon efforts to achieve a “racial balance” in the numbers they frisk, an official report says today.
Which race is Islam again?
The Government’s terrorism watchdog, David Anderson, QC, says that it is the “antithesis of intelligence-led policing” for officers to ensure that the numbers of each ethnic group searched are proportionate to their presence in the population.
He says that instead checks should be targeted at those groups most likely to carry out a terrorist attack.
Mr Anderson’s comments come in his annual report to Parliament on the operation of terrorism laws.
They follow complaints that some travellers, such as elderly white women, are subjected to unnecessary searches to ensure that statistics do not appear “disproportionately” focused on Muslims.
Today, however, Mr Anderson says that the “schedule 7″ powers, which allow searches to be conducted at airports and ports without the need to prove suspicion, have been “instrumental” in catching terrorists.
He cites examples such as Sohail Anjum Qureshi, 30, who was jailed at the Old Bailey in 2008 for four and half years for terrorism offences after being stopped at Heathrow en route to Pakistan to carry out a “two-to-three week” terrorist operation.
Another was Yassin Nassari, 28, from Ealing, who was sentenced to three and a half years in 2007 for possessing rocket-making instructions, after being detained at Luton airport.
Mr Anderson’s report says that the value of such searches is “therefore scarcely in doubt”. The report states: “To use schedule 7 in such a way as to reflect the ethnic balance of the population would be the antithesis of intelligence-led policing.
The proportionate application of schedule 7 is surely achieved by matching its application to the terrorist threat, rather than to the population as a whole.”
He added: “If the police have intelligence that there may be someone dangerous on a flight from Pakistan, or a ferry from Northern Ireland, they must be free to concentrate their resources on that flight or that ferry.
“If people are stopped simply for the sake of balance, whether in terms of gender, age or race, the powers will not be used in the most effective way – or in the fairest way.”….