Friends of a Muslim firearms officer removed from a high-profile armed police protection squad described suspicions against him as “laughable” yesterday. PC Amjad Farooq was moved from the protection group, whose duties include guarding Downing St and the US embassy, after a background check.
It was alleged that two of his sons, aged nine and 11, attended a mosque associated with a cleric linked to a suspected terrorist group. The Guardian has learned that the decision to sideline PC Farooq was also based on his travelling history: like many Britons, he has Pakistani heritage. Some of the intelligence that caused concern during his vetting procedure came from the domestic security service, MI5.
PC Farooq was also allegedly told that if he was posted to the US embassy his presence might upset the American secret service. The officer, 39, is taking the Metropolitan police to an employment tribunal, claiming he was the victim of racial and religious discrimination.
The Muslim Council of Britain criticised the police for accepting “smear and innuendo” in the place of hard evidence.
See also Independent, 8 November 2006