Below is a list of questions I put to the Home Secretary and the Chief Constable of Bedfordshire Police in a correspondence regarding what I believe to be irregularities and endemic failures in anti radicalisation policy and a totalitarian lack of transparency and redress to abuses of RIPA laws which may be contributing to a situation where people are being put under duress through harassment and intimidation in their daily lives.
This situation is a serious threat to everyone’s human rights and freedom, that authorised persons within Government agencies, Local Government Authorities and other organisations can in practice subject individuals to harassment and intimidation by misusing laws designed to protect us from terrorism and criminality to stifle dissent, silence whistleblowers, to ‘manage performance’ or for other illegal aims and agendas.
I am one of these individuals who have been subject to harassment by these laws which are purportedly designed to allow ftror covert surveillance for the purposes of gathering intelligence or evidence for the purpose of crime prevention, these laws do not, in letter at least, permit harassment and intimidation of individuals for the purpose of putting that individual under duress in some quasi-legal shadow world where there is practically no form of redress or examination, which from my experience, in practice appears to be exactly what is taking place.
The questions I have put to the Home Secretary and Bedfordshire Police, which so far they have been unable to answer are regarding the supervision of these laws, or rather the lack thereof, and how they relate to the radicalisation of individuals, possibly under duress, as well as the continued failure to identify that individuals may be being radicalised/recruited covertly under duress by others who appear to be consistently evading detection and the lack of a cohesive strategy for combating it.
They are as follows;
1. I believe I have been targeted for harassment with the aim of putting me under duress, which I believe is religiously/politically motivated. I am a former attendee of a mosque where at least two other former attendees have been involved in terrorist acts, I have complained to the Chief Constable of Bedfordshire Police and the Home Secretary as well as the Government supported TellMama organisation, whose mission is to provide support to victims of anti-Muslim hate, but to no avail-is this acceptable?
2. These former attendees had seemingly no prior indication of involvement in extremism nor as far as I know have any associates of theirs been charged with any offences relating to the commission of their crimes or been able to provide any information as to who radicalised these men and how, but they have ended up involved in terror attacks. Also, at least one of these men, Khalid Masood had been under surveillance for some period before being considered not a threat, therefore it is fair to say that these men may have been covertly radicalised/recruited, has it been identified by the Home Office/Police that it is possible that this has taken place under duress?
3. Has it been identified by the Home Office/Police that these men as well as other similar individuals involved in UK terror attacks such as Nicky Reilly, the man involved in the 2008 Exeter bombing (who had profound learning difficulties and who was radicalised by unknown persons, which has been assumed took place online, although no trace of these individuals has been found despite the increased surveillance powers available) had similar profile traits in they were not from the largely homogenous and predominantly South Asian community and in this respect were more socially vulnerable and more susceptible to radicalisation, possibly under duress? If so, what measures have been taken to combat the radicalisation of more socially vulnerable individuals and are how are these measures robust enough to deal with radicalisation through covert methods?
4. I was working for a Local Government Authority at the time of the commencement of the harassment, where I believe I was subjected to acts of intimidation, bullying and harassment both in the workplace and outside of work. Having read in the media an article https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/bullying_and_harassment_23#comment-4081 of a (edit) former employee of Luton Borough Council whose account mirrors my own experience where they have claimed that they had in their time in the workplace experienced harassment and bullying and that they continued to do so after leaving the job and where they stated that they believed RIPA laws are being abused to harass others, I would like to ask what provisions exist to ensure that authorised persons working for Local Goverment and other organisations are not abusing these powers, and that ‘rogue operators’ are not utilising these powers for non prescribed purposes/agendas and what recourse is available to individuals who believe they are being harassed and bullied by such persons utilising these laws to intimidate using Mobbing style tactics when the laws themselves are designed to allow actions to take place covertly and therefore afford a level of deniability and concealment to those involved?
5. Also, has it been identified by the Home Office/Police that abuses of these laws in such a manner whereby there is provision to co-opt council workers, police officers, National Health staff, neighbours, work colleagues, postal workers etc., effectively anyone a targeted person may come into contact with in his/her day to day life would be likely to cause serious mental and possibly physical harm to the individual and put them under extreme duress especially when ‘surveillance’ is conducted in a hostile and belligerent manner and has the Home Office/Police identified that the malicious abuse of these laws in this way may be being used to marginalise, discredit and to institutionalise victims into the mental health system, either by causing genuine mental harm to them or because by them making a complaint about such a situation, where apparently multiple unrelated individuals have had a threatening and malicious attitude towards them, they can can be deemed as having symptoms consistent with mental health issues? If so, what recourse is provided for an individual in this situation?
6. When I reported that I believe I was being harassed for religious/political reasons to both Bedfordshire Police and TellMama, (who failed to get back in touch me despite repeated reminders) in March 2017, I subsequently received a phone call from my GP Surgery requesting I make an appointment for an adult safeguarding issue which I have been reliably informed may involve an evaluation of my mental health. Is it official Government policy to refer Muslims who report claims of harassment and targeting to psychiatric evaluation and if so, how would this approach prevent an individual from being radicalised under duress?
7. During the first year of the the harassment, which was a particularly difficult time for me, I was considering a move to Saudi Arabia, hoping to get away from the incessant harassment and was applying for jobs and researching the requirements for acceptance into the country as a foreign worker. I noticed that a Police clearance/Good conduct certificate from a British Police Force is required by Saudi authorities for UK passport holders and I would like to know how Khalid Masood, the man involved in the 2017 Westminster attack managed to acquire this Police clearance in light of his violent and recent criminal record when he went to Saudi Arabia in 2005 and 2008?
8. In light of recent and ongoing Sunni/Shia conflicts in the Middle East, particularly in Iraq and Syria, has the possibility of sectarian agitators and agent provocateurs been a focus of investigation into radicalisation?
9. In view of the rising phenomenon of Mobbing tactics being used to target and bully individuals, particularly in the workplace, (concurrent with the increased surveillance laws) which are broadly defined as ‘bullying of an individual by a group, in any context, such as family, peer group, school, workplace, neighbourhood, community or online’, why is there no Home Office/Police acknowledgement of this behaviour being employed on a wider community level or strategy to combat it, while schemes such as Cocoon Watch, brought in by the Home Office for victims of crimes such as domestic abuse where people at risk are supported by the Police and provided with panic buttons or mobile phones to be able to contact police have proved highly successful?
The Home Secretary’s Office has declined these questions stating that ‘it would not be appropriate for Ministers or officials to comment on, or intervene in, a specific case, investigation or complaint’.
These questions though framed by my complaint of harassment, which I believe misuse of these laws have been a contributing factor in, relate to policy, which the Home Office is ultimately responsible for.
Bedfordshire Police Chief Constables Office have declined to answer, referring my complaint to the Police’s Professional Standards Department.
Update; Following this publication and just hours prior to my complaint to the IOPC, Bedfordshire Police announced that Chief Constable Boutcher was to stand down as Chief Constable.