Britain’s most senior policeman has called for an urgent review into the decision to excuse a Muslim police officer from guarding the Israeli embassy in London on moral grounds.
Pc Alexander Omar Basha, part of the Metropolitan Police’s Diplomatic Protection Group, asked for special dispensation not to work at the embassy because of his ethical objection to Israel’s bombing of Lebanon, according to the Sun newspaper.
The officer is understood to have relatives in Lebanon.
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Today Sir Ian Blair, the Metropolitan Police commissioner, said he had ordered an investigation into how the decision was made.
“Having learned of this issue I have asked for an urgent review of the situation and a full report into the circumstances, ” he said.
Superintendent Dal Babu, chairman of the Association of Muslim Police, said that it was important not to blow the issue out of proportion, but that it did risk setting a dangerous precedent.
“As police officers we have to deal with some very, very difficult situations and we need to be objective and make sure that we police all members of the community fairly. We can’t pick and choose,” he told the BBC.
Earlier a Scotland Yard spokesman said that requests for transfers were dealt with on a case-by-case basis, balancing the needs of the force with the concerns of individuals.
“However, the needs of the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) takes precedence and the organisation reserves the right to post an officer anywhere within the MPS,” he said.