Metropolitan Police Authority "Together Against terror ?" conference

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The Metropolitan Police Authority seems to be holding a conference called "Together Against terror ?" this Monday 12th December 2005 at theCentral Westminster Hall, Storey's Gate, Westminster SW1H 9NH.

Only the most dedicated fans of the MPA website could have known about this conference, as the Press Release was only issued on Friday 9th December 2005 !

On 12 December 2005 the Metropolitan Police Authority will be will be holding a one-day conference, ‘Together Against Terror?’, with the aim of widening the London and national debate on how our society should respond to the terrorist threat.

Surely they cannot be serious in thinking that this one day conference with a hand picked audience, coupled with an unscientific and insecure online opinion poll, is actually a genuine "public consultation" ?

This exercise needs to be repeated many more times than just this one day conference. There should be at least one of these conferences in each of the 34 London Boroughs !

Conference Themes and Speakers:

  • 09:30-10:30 The terrorist threat? How real is it, and how new? Sir Ian Blair (Commissioner, Metropolitan Police Service) Sir John Gieve (Permanent Secretary, Home Office)
  • 10:30-11:30 How reasonable is lethal force? Do the ends justify the means? Chris Fox (President, Association of Chief Police Officers) Dr Shahrar Ali (Executive Member, Society for Applied Philosophy & Editor, Philosophy Today)
  • 12:15-13:15 Divided we stand? Which counter terrorism tactics command public support? Nuala O'Loan (Police Ombudsman Northern Ireland) Dr Ghayasuddin Siddiqui (Leader, The Muslim Parliament of Great Britain)

  • 14:15-15:15
    Liberty versus security? Must we choose between our safety and our rights?
    Shami Chakrabarti (Director, Liberty)
    Lord Toby Harris (Member, Metropolitan Police Authority & Executive Member, Association of Police Authorities)

  • 15:30-16:30
    Scaremongers and sensationalists? Do the media inform or alarm?
    Martin Brunt (Crime Correspondent, Sky News)
    Jeff Edwards (Crime Reporter, Daily Mirror & Chair, Crime Reporters Association)

However this is not very public at all:

Attendance at this conference is by invitation only. 100 Londoners, representative of the capital's diverse communities, have been invited to participate.

Who exactly are these "100 Londoners" ? That represents fewer than 3 "Londoners" per Borough.

They do not include people like David Mery

There is a flawed 10 Question opinion poll, which is open until December 19th,

The Yes / No questions preceded by some quotations (with room for other comments). There are two Questions per Theme / Coneference speech:

  1. Have you got enough information to make such decisions about what kind of police service you want to tackle terrorism?

  2. If London came under terrorist attack again, would you be confident in the police emergency response?

  3. Do you support the national police policy to shoot to kill suspected suicide bombers?

  4. Would you feel safer with more armed police on the streets?

  5. Do the police understand the communities they serve?

  6. Do you want to know whom the police stop-and-search under the Terrorism Act, and where?

  7. If the police try to recruit officers from diverse communities, could those communities do more to help?

  8. ‘A YouGov poll in the aftermath of the July 7th bombings found that seven out of ten people believed it was sometimes necessary to restrict civil liberties in order to combat terrorism’.

    Do you?

  9. Has the media fuelled community tensions?

  10. On balance, has the media coverage of this summer’s events been accurate?

This is definately not a scientifically designed opinion poll, and the questions are quite biased and are not appropriate for simplistic Yes / No answers.

There is no need to register your name or which part of London you live or work in,

There does not appear to be any way to prevent multiple voting abuses in this online poll.

The only good feature of this "poll" is that each question has space for further comments.

The results of your voting will be made available to the media to spark wider debate, and will also be incorporated into an MPA report, with recommendations, to be discussed in public at the MPA full Authority Meeting on 26 January 2006.


Dear sir or madam,
The public response to its safety and polls etc. is not a science and neither are the attempts of the terrorists to weaken our society.

Thus I feel that there are those who should come down off of their high philosophical horses and support the Police and the
lawmakers who have their hearts in the right place the defense of our realm and are trying to do something positive about this defense of our realm.

Yours sincerely
John Size

The MPA explains: "[...] Recognising the potential which Londoners themselves have to contribute to the safety and security of the capital, the MPA has undertaken to deliver a series of consultative activities in the field of counter-terrorism. The first of these activities was the MPA's 'Together Against Terror?' conference in December 2005, attended by over 150 community members. Planned activities in 2006 include a series of public hearings, focus groups in universities and colleges, and local consultation in all 32 London Boroughs. [...]"

More about the question that led to this answer.

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