They apologized, but only because they were caught. Their explanation doesn’t make any sense: “Following the terrorism incident in Paris, France on 7 January 2015, Wiltshire police undertook an assessment of community tensions across the county. As part of this work, local sector policing teams were asked to be mindful of business premises, in particular newsagents who may be distributing the Charlie Hebdo magazine and to consider that these shops may be vulnerable.” How does getting the names of those who bought Charlie Hebdo make newsagents less vulnerable? Were British authorities intending to provide protection to the individuals who bought the magazine? That would be the only way the request for their names could make sense in terms of protecting the public, but they don’t say anything about any such plan. Also, if this were all about protecting the public, why did they apologize at all?
That leaves only one other possible explanation: the police sought the names of those who bought Charlie Hebdo intending to target them in some way — place them on a list of potential “Islamophobes,” or put them under surveillance, or do something, whatever it may have been, to harass them for exercising their freedom of speech in a way that offended Muslims.
Sharia Britannia Update: “UK police force apologises for taking details of Charlie Hebdo readers,” by Josh Halliday, the Guardian, February 9, 2015 (thanks to Jules):
A British police force has apologised after an officer told a newsagent to hand over details of customers who purchased copies of the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in the wake of the Paris terror attacks.
Wiltshire police confirmed that one of their officers visited a newsagent in Corsham, Wiltshire, to ask for the names of four customers who ordered the commemorative “survivors’ issue” of the magazine.
The incident came to light when Anne Keat, 77, who bought the special issue from that newsagent, wrote a letter to the Guardian to warn people that wearing badges emblazoned with “Je suis Charlie” may attract police interest.
In the letter, which was published on Monday, Keat wrote: “Your offer of commemorative badges in support of journalistic freedom highlighting Je suis Charlie prompts me to suggest a degree of caution following my experience. Tongue in cheek, I asked my helpful newsagents to obtain a copy of the edition of Charlie Hebdo issued after the dreadful massacre in Paris, if indeed a copy was ever available in north Wiltshire.
“To my surprise, a copy arrived last Wednesday week and although the standard of content in no way matches that of the Guardian I will cherish it. However, two days later a member of Her Majesty’s police service visited said newsagent, requesting the names of the four customers who had purchased Charlie Hebdo. So beware, your badges may attract police interest in your customers.”
In a statement, Wiltshire police apologised to “the members of the public who may be affected by this” and said they had deleted the details from their system.
A spokeswoman said: “Following the terrorism incident in Paris, France on 7 January 2015, Wiltshire police undertook an assessment of community tensions across the county. As part of this work, local sector policing teams were asked to be mindful of business premises, in particular newsagents who may be distributing the Charlie Hebdo magazine and to consider that these shops may be vulnerable.
“There was no specific threat nationally and nothing to suggest newsagents in particular would be vulnerable.”
She continued: “A police officer visited a local shop and post office in Corsham to make an assessment of community tensions and, if appropriate, encourage the newsagent’s owner to be vigilant. During this conversation the officer requested information about subscribers to the Charlie Hebdo magazine.
“Wiltshire police would like to apologise to the members of public who may be affected by this. Information relating to this specific incident has been permanently and securely disposed of.
“Wiltshire police are confident that the police officer’s intention was purely around enhancing public safety and ensuring that the newsagent was advised appropriately.”
It is understood that the officer involved has been given a “word of advice” but will not face disciplinary action. The force said it had received no complaints about the incident….