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Last Updated: Sunday, 20 August 2006, 18:06 GMT 19:06 UK
Police row over travel profiles
Metropolitan Police Chief Superintendent Ali Dizaei
Ch Supt Ali Dizaei said his critics were out of touch
One of the UK's most senior Muslim officer has hit back at critics who accuse him of "blissful ignorance" regarding passenger profiling.

Ch Supt Ali Dizaei said the profiling, which takes passengers' religion and race into account, would create an offence of "travelling whilst Asian".

But the Police Federation accused the Met's Mr Dizaei of inflaming moderate Muslim opinion and sensationalism.

In response, Mr Dizaei said the federation was out of touch.

Vice-chairman of the Police Federation Alan Gordon said profiling was already used to stop football hooligans travelling to Germany for the World Cup in June and supported the measure, saying Mr Dizaei was being alarmist.

Mr Gordon and his cohorts at the Police Federation have very little in common with the true racial diversity of this country
Ch Supt Ali Dizaei

He said: "I have no doubt that the Home Secretary predicted negative knee-jerkism at the slightest hint of profiling, but it is a sad state of affairs that this has come from a high ranking police officer at such a sensitive time.

"Cheap, sensationalist soundbites about creating an offence of 'travelling whilst Asian' are only likely to inflame moderate Muslim opinion and thus play into the hands of the terrorist. Yes, this is a difficult and emotive debate. But it is a debate we must have."

But Mr Dizaei said: "Mr Gordon and his cohorts at the Police Federation have very little in common with the true racial diversity of this country and people of London and in that the travelling population,.

"They therefore have no mandate to understand the complexity and the tension this might create if you simply profile people on the basis of their race."

He said passenger profiling could only be an effective tool if used alongside other variables including travelling history, persistency of travelling and whether the journey was paid in cash or with credit cards.

"If passenger profiling is not relying on intelligence what we'll end up with is the situation which has already happened where ordinary people are being escorted off airlines simply because they are not wearing flip flops, wearing leather jackets and speaking in a foreign language."


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