Middle East Eye reports: Taxi drivers in the UK are being trained to become the “eyes and ears” of local authorities and police in the hunt for potential terrorists as part of safeguarding schemes being rolled out across the country.
Drivers in several British towns and cities are receiving Prevent counter-terrorism training as part of mandatory “knowledge” tests introduced by local councils.
One flagship scheme, run by Calderdale Council in West Yorkshire, northern England, was considered so successful that councillors discussed extending it to staff working in takeaway food outlets and bars.
Manchester City Council also incorporated Prevent awareness into a safeguarding handbook issued to taxi drivers last year, while Dartford Borough Council in Kent is among the latest to introduce Prevent training as part of its safeguarding requirements for taxi drivers.
But taxi industry organisations and trade unions have raised concerns about the training which they say is being introduced in a piecemeal and inconsistent way across the country and risks creating an “air of suspicion” within communities.
Critics of Prevent also questioned the legality of the training and accused the Government of seeking to turn the UK into a “counter-terrorism state” in which citizens were expected to spy on each other. [Continue reading…]