UK: Chief constable warns against ‘drift towards police state’

Greater Manchester’s Sir Peter Fahy says it is not the police’s job to define what counts as extremism

The battle against extremism could lead to a “drift towards a police state” in which officers are turned into “thought police”, one of Britain’s most senior chief constables has warned.

Sir Peter Fahy, chief constable of Greater Manchester, said police were being left to decide what is acceptable free speech as the efforts against radicalisation and a severe threat of terrorist attack intensify.

It is politicians, academics and others in civil society who have to define what counts as extremist ideas, he says…

…Fahy said elected politicians and civic society needed to ask and answer questions about free speech’s limits: “When does anti-Israeli protest become antisemitic? How far is it OK to challenge homosexuality, women’s rights? How far is it OK to advocate violent action abroad?”

He added: “These are difficult issues for Muslims and the Catholic church … Extremism is not just about Muslims, there are a lot of rightwing extremists.”He gave another example about the opposition some fundamentalist Christians have to homosexuality: “If that speaker, says all homosexuals are sinful, are mentally defective and need reprogramming and are threat to society, is that preaching hatred?”…

And also consider: What if a Muslim says the same thing about homosexuals? Does being a Muslim cancel it out, somehow?