Thought police

Submitted by martin on 31 May, 2016 - 11:48 Author: Chris Reynolds

Simon Cole is not a left-winger. He is a lifelong cop, and the chief cop working on the Government's much-criticised "Prevent" programme.

"Prevent" is supposed to stop young people being drawn to ideologies like Al Qaeda's, but its bureaucratic workings make it ineffective or even counterproductive.

Even Cole, though, says that the Government's planned new "anti-extremism" law risks legislating "a kind of thought-police control of what people can and can not say".

The planned new law would criminalise speech (rather than action) previously quite legal. Cole and others think it is unenforceable and could well do harm by unnecessarily alienating and antagonising people.

In any case, they don't want to have to police such a slippery law.

Peter Fahy, Cole's predecessor as chief cop working on "Prevent", has already condemned the planned legislation. The criticism from Cole, a young police chief surely anxious for promotion, is even more significant.

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