Britain could be pushed towards a ‘police state’ in which officers are turned into Orwellian ‘thought police’ in the battle against extremism, one of the country’s top cops has warned.
Sir Peter Fahy, the chief constable of Greater Manchester Police, said police should not be left to decide what is acceptable free speech as the threat of severe terrorist attack intensifies.
Instead politicians, academics and others in civil society should have to decide when radical Islam veers into extremism and when anti-gay or anti-women’s rights sentiments cross the line.
The vice-chair of the police’s terrorism committee warned that unless this happened, it would be decided by ‘securocrats’ including the security service and police chiefs.
‘If these issues [defining extremism] are left to securocrats then there is a danger of a drift to a police state,’ he told The Guardian.
‘I am a securocrat, it’s people like me, in the security services, people with a narrow responsibility for counter-terrorism. It is better for that to be defined by wider society and not securocrats.
‘There is a danger of us being turned into a thought police. This securocrat says we do not want to be in the space of policing thought or police defining what is extremism.’
He called on universities and colleges to improve the way they identify extremist speakers on campuses to prevent vulnerable girls leaving the country to become Jihadi brides.
‘The police service does not want to be in school or on university campuses controlling thought,’ he said.
‘But the best way to avoid this is for such institutions to have procedures to know the messages which are being promoted and for student bodies to have policies on whether preaching hatred towards homosexuality, allowing segregated meetings or advocating violent action overseas is acceptable or not.’
Daily Mail / Dec. 6, 2014