Month: October 2006

NMP report criticises Police media strategy in Forest Gate Raids

Forest Gate raids: Metropolitan Police accused of increasing likelihood that local communities will dismiss intelligence on ‘terrorist threat’

Newham Monitoring Project (NMP), the east London anti-racist and civil rights organisation that has provided support to the families caught up in the bungled anti-terrorism raids in Forest Gate in June 2006, has condemned the Metropolitan Police for condoning repeated and unattributed leaks to the media against the two men at the centre of the raids, which has fuelled a process of character assassination of the two brothers that were arrested and by implication other family members.

NMP has also told the body responsible for holding London’s police to account that for all intents and purposes, local police commanders in Forest Gate were sidelined and excluded from the details of the controversial raids.

NMP, which undertook a number of community consultation exercises in the weeks following the raids to find out local opinion, also reported back that the police operation has increased the likelihood that members of local communities are less likely to believe the information they are given about the nature and extent of terrorist threats.

Newham Monitoring Project’s comments are included in a submission to a scrutiny carried out by the Metropolitan Police Authority into the media and communications strategy of the MPS, focusing specifically on the way that the police communicated to local people following the botched anti-terrorism raids in Forest Gate in June. NMP has outlined in detail the police’s failures to communicate with local residents.

NMP has also told the Metropolitan Police Authority that if the unofficial briefings that appeared in the press following the Forest Gate raids as police sources were not officially orchestrated, then the Metropolitan Police is guilty of effectively condoning the actions of a small group of police officers who have anonymously fed information to the media in return either for cash, the conducting of inter-agency feuding between the Met and the security services over apportioning blame or simply in order to undermine the accountability of a public service. In such circumstances, NMP has called for an urgent investigation into the conduct of police officers based at Scotland Yard who have been responsible for misconduct.

Notes for Editors

1. A copy of NMP’s submission ‘Aftermath of the Forest Gate Raids’ is available here.

2. For further information, contact NMP on 020 8470 8333