UK anti-radicalisation chief says ministers’ plans risk creating ‘thought police’

The Guardian reports: The police chief leading the fight to stop people becoming terrorists has said government plans targeting alleged extremists are so flawed they risk creating a “thought police” in Britain.

Simon Cole, the police lead for the government’s own Prevent anti-radicalisation programme, said that the plans may not be enforceable and risk making police officers judges of “what people can and can not say”.

His comments in a Guardian interview expose opposition in part of Britain’s security establishment against the planned Conservative government bill which was unveiled last week in the Queen’s speech.

The bill widens Britain’s counter-terrorism fight to legislate against those defined as extremists but who do not advocate terrorism. Supporters of the measures say such people encourage those who want to commit atrocities and are ideological fellow travellers, who undermine common bedrock British values.

However, Cole said that other senior police officers have concerns about the plans and the Guardian has learned separately that several British police chiefs are opposed or have serious reservations. [Continue reading…]

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