Leading article: The police should explain

Share
Related Topics

The release without charge of the two brothers arrested in the raid on a house in Forest Gate has made the police and security services look foolish - or worse. One of the brothers, Mohammed Abdul Kahar, is lucky to be alive, having been shot, apparently by accident, in the pre-dawn operation. No wonder some British Muslims feel demonised by the "war on terror".

Political extremists have seized on the raid as evidence of state-sanctioned Islamophobia. Yet it is not only Muslims who suffer from police and the security services' mistakes, as the family of Jean Charles de Menezes, a Brazilian Roman Catholic, can testify.

A bit of world-weary realism is called for. The shooting of Mr Menezes was a truly dreadful error, but we simply do not yet have enough information to know how wide of the mark was the raid in Forest Gate. In the absence of hard facts, conspiracy theories flourish. George Galloway's Respect coalition is eager to persuade disaffected Muslims that the raid was an attempt to frighten them into submission. From the Metropolitan Police's panicky damage limitation in the past few days, the opposite is plainly the case: that the police are acutely aware of the potential gift their raid is to jihadist propagandists.

Then there are the mirror-image conspiracy theories. Iain Duncan Smith, the former Conservative leader, suggested that extremists might be feeding dud intelligence to the security services, in order to stir up precisely such animosity between Muslims and the police.

That is enough wild theories. What matters is that the security services and the police show that they can learn from their mistakes. That requires honesty about past failures, from Iraq to 7/7 and Menezes - and it requires as much openness as is possible about Forest Gate. There has already been too much anonymous leaking of details of the raid - such as the alleged fact that Mr Kahar was shot because the officer could not feel the trigger through his protective gloves. The instinct of cover-up that was displayed in the Menezes affair must give way to a presumption of openness. That is the only way to persuade British Muslims that they are not being treated indiscriminately as the enemy within.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Head of Marketing and Communications - London - up to £80,000

£70000 - £80000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Group Head of Marketing and Communic...

Nursery Nurse

Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: Level 3 Nursery Nurse required for ...

Nursery Nurse

Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: L3 Nursery Nurses urgently required...

SEN Teaching Assistant

Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: We have a number of schools based S...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Ed Miliband's conference speech must show Labour has a head as well as a heart

Patrick Diamond
 

To hear the Yes campaigners, you’d think London was the most evil place on Earth

Yasmin Alibhai Brown
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam