BNP organiser arrested over harassment claim

The British National Party’s regional organiser in the North-East has been arrested on suspicion of racially aggravated harassment.

Ken Booth, who lives in Fenham, Newcastle, was arrested yesterday by Northumbria Police and bailed pending further inquiries. Mr Booth’s arrest is understood to have followed a complaint made to police by a Muslim councillor in the city.

The 54-year-old, who is standing in the European elections in the spring and has previously stood for Newcastle City Council, in Fenham, took over the role of regional organiser for the party from Kevin Scott in 2006. He is expected to answer bail at a police station in the city in the middle of next month.

Mr Booth would not directly comment on his arrest when contacted by The Echo, but a spokesman for the party said it was an example of “politically correct Britain”. He said: “The public can see what is happening and I am sure that in this particular instance we, as a party, have got nothing to fear. People in the North-East are sick and tired of this politically correct nonsense.”

Mr Booth, who describes himself on the BNP website as the single parent of three boys and an elected parent governor, has stood for the party several times in local elections. In January, he finished in third place in a by-election for the Fenham ward.

Last year, Mr Booth hit out at efforts to “destabilise” the BNP after his and the details of hundreds of other party members were leaked onto the internet.

A Northumbria Police spokeswoman said: “We can confirm a 54-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of racially aggravated harassment and has been bailed pending further inquiries.”

Acting Chief Inspector Sav Patsalos, of Northumbria police, added: “When any such incidents are brought to our attention they are treated very seriously and we take appropriate action.”

A spokesman for Newcastle City Council said: “It is a police matter and we are not prepared to comment.”

Northern Echo, 18 March 2009