Home Office minister Hazel Blears has urged that controversial police stop-and-search powers should not be used to target Muslims because of their religion.
She was speaking after British Transport Police Chief Constable Ian Johnston suggested his officers would be concentrating on particular racial groups, and would not “waste time searching old white ladies”.
In a visit to Oldham, Mrs Blears hoped to reassure the Muslim community in the wake of the London bombings and said that stop and searches should be based on intelligence and not racial profiling.
She said: “The counter-terrorism powers are not targeting any community in particular, but are targeting terrorists.
“That is why they have got to be intelligence-led and used proportionally, fairly, and in a non-discriminatory way.”
Mrs Blears is in charge of the department while Home Secretary Charles Clarke is on holiday.
Meanwhile, Scotland Yard figures show crimes motivated by religious hatred have rocketed by nearly 600 per cent in London since the July 7 bombings.