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Last Updated: Wednesday, 26 May, 2004, 22:28 GMT 23:28 UK
BNP's broadcast based on C4 film
Bradford race riots
Police feared the show would spark riots, as seen in Bradford in 2001
The British National Party is to base an election broadcast on a programme pulled by Channel 4 following police warnings it could raise racial tension.

The far-right party criticised West Yorkshire Police for what it calls "politically correct censorship".

Chief Constable Colin Cramphorn said the film would "increase community tensions" in the run up to local and European elections on 10 June.

In a letter, he asked Channel 4 to consider postponing the broadcast.

The channel says it will now show the "Edge of the City" programme, which was filmed over a year with the co-operation of Bradford Social Services, after next month's poll.

The programme, which features a report on alleged abuses of young women by Asian men, was described on the BNP's website as a party political broadcast on their behalf.

Political correctness?

The BNP election broadcast will be shown on Channel 5 on Friday.

It begins with the words: "It's official. West Yorkshire Police Chief Colin Cramphorn admits that he pressured Channel 4 to postpone the shocking expose about paedophile gangs targeting young white girls in Bradford because he thought it would have even more people like you voting for the BNP."

As well as following a young offender, a "fiercely independent" elderly man and a disabled couple, the documentary examined the area of child abuse known as "grooming".

In these exceptional circumstances... Channel 4 as a responsible broadcaster has agreed to the police's request to postpone the broadcast
Channel 4 statement
It reported that white girls as young as 11 were being sexually abused by Asian men who encouraged their dependency on drugs over a period of time.

The BNP broadcast, one of five to be screened on terrestrial television across the country this week, was previewed in a secret location in Halifax, West Yorkshire, amid tight security.

BNP leader Nick Griffin also explained that the main broadcast, which will be shown on the BBC, could not be previewed on Wednesday as it had not yet received clearance.

Community relations

Mr Cramphorn's letter to Channel 4 Chief Executive Mark Thompson was released to the media earlier on Thursday, in an attempt to clarify the force's position.

I am not in anyway seeking to censor or prevent the broadcast from occurring
Colin Cramphorn, Chief Constable, West Yorkshire
In it, he says: "I would draw your attention to the website of the British National Party who are describing your programme as being a party political broadcast on their behalf."

Mr Cramphorn hails progress in community relations in Bradford since race riots there nearly three years go.

But he adds: "With the approaching local and European elections, the potential for discord within the community has been heightened and, therefore, tension has increased within the district.

"For this very reason, within the last two months, the home secretary has banned an extreme right wing group from holding a march and rally in Bradford, on application by myself, because of the potential risk of public disorder."

'No censorship'

Mr Cramphorn said he wanted to "place on the record" his view that the programme would "increase community tensions" in the city, "with the consequent risk that it will provoke public disorder".

He added: "I would invite you to reflect on how you might subsequently justify this before a court or public inquiry."

He concludes: "For the sake of clarity I am not in anyway seeking to censor or prevent the broadcast from occurring.

"However, I do believe that a responsible broadcaster would postpone the date of broadcast until later in the year."



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