Police officers in England’s Bedfordshire county have been told to take off their shoes and not interrupt anyone praying during raids of Muslim homes, according to leaked guidelines.
The 18-point guide, under development before the recent London bombing attacks, says “the Muslim community feels victimized and suspicious of counter terrorist police operations and in the current climate a search at a British Muslim household has the potential to become a critical incident and come under intense scrutiny.”
The guidelines for police offers, according to the paper, include:
- Rapid entry needs to be the last resort and raids into Muslim houses are discouraged for a number of religious dignity reasons.
- Police should seek to avoid looking at unclad Muslim women and allow them an opportunity to dress and cover their heads.
- For reasons of dignity officers should seek to avoid entering occupied bedrooms and bathrooms even before dawn.
- Use of police dogs will be considered serious desecration of the premises and may necessitate extensive cleaning of the house and disposal of household items.
- Advice should be sought before considering the use of cameras and camcorders due to the risk of capturing individuals, especially women, in inappropriate dress.
- Muslim prisoners should be allowed to take additional clothing to the station.
- If people are praying at home officers should stand aside and not disrupt the prayer. They should be allowed the opportunity to finish.
- Officers should not take shoes into the houses, especially in areas that might be kept pure for prayer purposes.
- In the current climate the justification for pre-dawn raids on Muslim houses needs to be clear and transparent.
- Non-Muslims are not allowed to touch holy books, Qurans or religious artifacts without permission. Where possible, Muslim officers in a state of ‘Wudhu’ (preparation before prayer) should be used for this purpose.