Time Met woke up to the real English Defence League

 

EDL marches will continue to blight local communities

EDL marches will continue to blight local communities

In light of past experiences of English Defence League marches and the recent ban, I, together with my BME colleagues in the Labour Group at the London Assembly wrote to the Met Police Commissioner, Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe urging him to revise the Met’s view about the status of the EDL.  Back in September 2009, Sir Paul Stephenson told the MPA that the EDL “are not viewed as an extreme right wing group in the accepted sense”.  Last year, it was reported that Adrian Tudway, head of the national domestic extremism unit at Scotland Yard, stated in an email to a Muslim organisation that “in terms of the position with EDL, the original stance stands, they are not extreme right wing as a group” adding “I really think you need to open a direct line of dialogue with them, that might be the best way to engage them and re-direct their activity”.  These sentiments are not only patronising to London’s Muslim community, they are wholly inconsistent with the EDL’s recent actions and the reaction by the local community to their presence.  In our letter to the Commissioner, we asked him to consider the following……
 
“The recent arrests by the Met Police and the request to ban the march…. were both based upon intelligence led investigation; it is clear, therefore, that the perception of the EDL as a non right wing organisation is misconceived.  This misconception should be put right, and we hope that recent actions by the Met police and the Home Secretary should pave a way forward to restating the Met’s views on the EDL.    We believe this is the time to draw a line in the sand from past statements made by or on behalf of the Met on this subject and we seek your reassurance that such statements will not be made under your watch in the future”

The response by the Commissioner is understandable, but nontheless disappointing.  As a non-proscribed group, then the EDL appear to escape the full glare of the Met, but isn’t it time we stopped worrying so much about their classication and more about the affect this group  has on local community cohesion?