This Reuters story was written while the police were detaining me in Southwark tube station and the bomb squad was checking my rucksack. When they were through, the two explosive specialists walked out of the tube station smiling and commenting ‘nice laptop’. The officers offered apologies on behalf of the Metropolitan Police. Then they arrested me.
Sari Horwitz writes, a few days after my arrest, in the Washington Post:
‘After the July 7 attacks on the London transit system by suicide bombers, the international police chiefs organization produced a detailed training guide for dealing with suicide bombers [that] recommends [...] an officer needs to use lethal force to stop someone who fits a certain behavioral profile.’
‘Behavior. Does the individual act oddly, appear fearful, or use mannerisms that do not fit in? Examples include repeatedly circling an area on foot or in a car, pacing back and forth in front of a venue, glancing left and right while walking slowly, fidgeting with something under his or her clothes, exhibiting an unwillingness to make eye contact, mumbling (prayer), or repeatedly checking a watch or cell phone. [...]
Appearance. Is the clothing, grooming, gender, or age of an individual out of place within the context of the environment? Examples include someone wearing a heavy coat or jacket in warm weather [...]
Equipment. Does a briefcase, duffle bag, or backpack seem extra heavy or have protrusions or visible wires? When the individual sits down, is he or she overly protective of this item or preoccupied with it? [...]’
How many computer and telecoms enthusiasts – basically techies – fit the Police terrorist behavioural profile so well and are not only wrongly detained but wrongly arrested every week in similar circumstances to mine?