What is more extreme, for a Chief Constable of a major city like Manchester, than knowing your citizens are leaving your country and flying half way around the world, to illegally enter a foreign country and then take up arms against a native people.
What is more extreme, than knowing your citizens, are brutally displacing citizens of a foreign land, carrying out acts of murder, which have been described as “war crimes” by the international community and then glorifying genocide, by posting celebratory pictures of gruesome images, on-to a variety of social networks.
These are the points which seemed to be missed, by Sir. Peter Fahy, the Chief Constable for Greater Manchester Police, in his comments to the Guardian; Chief constable warns against‘drift towards police state’.Apparently, it’s no-longer the job of the police to define what counts as extremism and said the government, academics and civil society needed to decide, where the line fell between free speech and extremist ideology.
What is striking about the comments of Sir. Peter, are some clear failures to address certain points, in the British debate on modern counter terrorism strategy.
Not once has the Chief Constable, sought to clarify to Manchester’s Iraqi and Kurdish populations, which numbers around 18.000 people, why those leaving to join the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, have mostly been British born Pakistani, white converts, or of African heritage,
The Chief Constable, Manchester City Council, along with the Governments counter-extremism strategy Prevent, has also made no meaningful efforts to engage with anyone outside of the Muslim community, including Manchester’s own Iraqi or Syrian Christians, Jewish, Turkmen and Yazidi communities.
You would think this alone, would assist the authorities to establish a clearer picture, into the actions of Britain’s ISIS members, or to provide support to those first, second, third and fourth generation British-Iraqi’s, whose families are being most greatly affected.
The Greater Manchester Police, while having given some emphasis into counter terrorism awareness, through mostly a help line number and the occasional public statement, have equally failed to provide any clarity to Manchester residents, into the legal directions, that should be taken, if someone was to encounter a returning member of the Islamic State, or should recognise them if back in Manchester, Britain’s only self-declared “city of peace”.
Overall, I found the statements of Sir Peter Fahy to be unhelpful, and while I would agree that wider society has a role to play, in defining what it views to be “extreme”, the fact that Greater Manchester Police appear to be unclear as to what they view to be extreme, has resulted in a free reign for the Islamic State and a justifiable feeling of insecurity, among those, who the Greater Manchester Police, are supposed to protect.