Police in public feud over profiling

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The police service has become embroiled in an embarrassingly public feud with two of its most senior Asian officers over the issue of passenger profiling in the fight against terrorism.

Assistant Commissioner Tarique Ghaffur and Chief Superintendent Ali Dizaei have warned against pandering to Islamophobia and creating the offence of "travelling while Asian".

But yesterday another chief superintendent as well as the Police Federation, which represents rank and file officers, retaliated with scathing comments about the two men. Alan Gordon, the Federation vice-chairman, accused the Asian officers of displaying "blissful ignorance". He went on to describe Mr Dizaei's comments as "cheap, sensationalist soundbites".

Scotland Yard Chief Superintendent Simon Humphrey said: "Unfortunately, a small, extremely vocal and potentially very influential minority are trying to hijack the terrorism issue and turn it into a debate on racism."

After reports that officials were considering a system of passenger profiling that would select people of a certain ethnic or religious background, Mr Ghaffur said prejudice had created a "generation of angry young people".

Mr Dizaei also said intelligence based on ethnicity, religion and country of origin was "hugely problematic and only likely to inflame moderate Muslim opinion".

Mr Gordon said: "The reality is that profiling in one form or another has always existed in policing."