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Police criticised on terror raid

BBC | February 13, 2007

The Metropolitan Police has been told it should apologise to the two families involved in the "terrifying experience" of the Forest Gate anti-terror raid.

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

But the watchdog said that it accepted 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 Abdul Kahar, 23 - the man shot in the shoulder - and his brother Abul Koyair, 20, were released without charge a week after the police operation.

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

The IPCC said the police should have changed their response much sooner once in control of the situation.

The 11 members of the two households involved in the raid made 150 separate complaints over how they had been treated, including that family members not arrested at the scene were taken to a police station.

The IPCC said one police officer had received a written warning for an allegation of neglect.

Public safety

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 b etter 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."

Ms Glass said the police tactics had been very forceful, but the IPCC 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."

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, one of those involved in the raid, 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."

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

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