Met urges ban on flag burning

Police chiefs have urged ministers to criminalise flag-burning in a move to crack down on extremist protesters.

Scotland Yard has submitted the idea to the Attorney General, Lord Goldsmith, alongside proposals to ban demonstrators from covering their faces. Police are also asking for greater powers to arrest protesters seeking to inflame tensions under the package drawn up by Britain's most senior Muslim officer.

Tarique Ghaffur, assistant commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, told BBC Radio Five Live that Britain was seen as soft on extremist demonstrators. "There appears to be a growing public perception that policing of demonstrations is unduly lenient," he said. "The reason this is a great country is the tolerance of people. If they start to see images of people who seem to be 'getting away with it', that starts to erode."

Lord Goldsmith is understood to be preparing announcements on dealing with extremists, possibly in November. Speaking on the Weekend News programme, Mr Ghaffur insisted the proposals would be backed by the Muslim community.

He said his proposal would not interfere with women's right to wear the veil.

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