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Last Updated: Tuesday, 13 February 2007, 23:03 GMT
Police criticised for terror raid
Mr Koyair and Mr Abdulkahar
The brothers have not been charged with any offences
A watchdog has told the Metropolitan Police to apologise to the two families involved in the "terrifying experience" of the Forest Gate anti-terrorism raid.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission said it had upheld a small number of complaints about the operation in east London in June 2006.

But it added the police had had no choice but to act based on the available intelligence.

One man was shot in the raid but he and another arrested man were not charged.

Mohammed Abdulkahar, 23, who was shot in the shoulder, and his brother Abul Koyair, 20, were released a week after the police operation.

None of this should minimise the... sense of grievance felt by all those affected by what must have been a terrifying experience
IPCC commissioner Deborah Glass

Police had been hunting for a suspected chemical device, but no evidence of a device or of any involvement in terror-related activities was found.

Scotland Yard - which has already apologised - said it was glad that an independent body had concluded its actions at Forest Gate were proportionate, necessary and motivated by public safety.

Prime Minister Tony Blair gave the police his full support and said they faced tough choices in their battle to keep the public safe.

"Sometimes I think they are in a way damned if they do and damned if they don't," he said.

"Without detracting from what the report says, I hope people understand how difficult that job is when they are faced with the prospect of protecting people from a loss of life that could be dreadful, as we saw on July 7, 2005."

(My dad) is 60 years old, he was half naked and they were beating him on the floor
Mr Abdulkahar

'Forceful and aggressive'

The 11 members of the two households targeted in the raid made 150 separate complaints about how they had been treated.

The IPCC said several of Mr Abdulkahar's complaints about medication and food were substantiated, and that one police officer had received a written warning about the medication.

It said police tactics during the raid had been "forceful and aggressive", but that this was inevitable as they believed they were dealing with a terrorist threat.

But the police should have changed their response much sooner once in control of the situation, it said.

Demonstration of Muslims
The raid sparked anger among some Muslims

IPCC commissioner Deborah Glass said: "I've concluded that the police were right to take no chances with public safety.

"But they were wrong not to have planned better for the intelligence being wrong.

"We have upheld a small number of complaints involving treatment in custody.

"We didn't uphold any complaints about excessive force although there is no doubt some of the residents were damaged by police actions."

'A terrifying experience'

Ms Glass said the level of force had to be judged in the light of intelligence which suggested an "extreme lethal threat".

She added: "None of this should minimise the deep and understandable sense of grievance felt by all those affected by what must have been a terrifying experience."

READ THE IPCC REPORT

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Deputy Assistant Commissioner Alf Hitchcock, of the Metropolitan Police's diversity and citizen focus directorate, said he was happy to reiterate three apologies the force had already made.

But he insisted: "We need to move on from repeating our apologies over and over again and need to learn the lessons around community engagement."

Mr Abdulkahar said: "I don't believe any form of intelligence they have is justification to attack people like this, brutally attacking my dad.

"He is 60 years old, he was half naked and they were beating him on the floor."

'Whitewash'

Hanif Doga, who lived at one of the houses raided and says he was struck on the head with a gun, said: "I could have died from this injury, yet the IPCC dismiss it as a minor head injury and call for no further action.

"I am deeply disappointed at this report - this is belittling proper investigation."

The Kalam family said they welcomed the IPCC's recommendation for a public apology.

But they added: "It is eight months too late and doesn't go far enough. We each raised many complaints about our brutal treatment at the hands of the police with the IPCC, yet unbelievably, no action is to be taken."

The families said there was nothing to indicate that the IPCC had investigated the steps the police took to assess the quality of the intelligence leading to the raids.

Asad Rehman, chairman of the Newham Monitoring Project, an anti-racism group that represented the brothers, said the report was a "whitewash".




VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
Reaction from the brothers involved in the raid



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