David Davis has written to the Home Secretary about the anti-cartoon protests of early February. This is the text of his letter:
“I am writing with regard to the demonstrations which occurred on 3rd and 4th February outside the Danish Embassy in Knightsbridge, concerning cartoons depicting the prophet Muhammad.
These protests contained elements whose behaviour the Prime Minister’s spokesman described as ‘unacceptable’ (Downing Street Press Briefing, 6 February 2006).
You will remember that protesters carried banners that incited violence and indeed murder, offences which the public have a right to expect the police to deal with and deal with promptly.
At the time Downing Street declared that in such situations ‘there were always decisions to be taken about whether to act immediately or to act later’. The police would ‘make operational judgments on the ground and then pursue matters later on’ (Downing Street Press Briefing, 6 February 2006). This implied that action would be taken.
You yourself promised that the police were undertaking ‘rigorous assessments’ and that if they concluded ‘there have been breaches of the law and decide to take any action, we would, of course, support them’ (The Guardian, 6 February 2006). This implied action was being undertaken.
The Metropolitan Police stated they were assessing the evidence collected, promising that ‘all complaints made to police will be passed to the Public Order Crime Unit for investigation’ (Metropolitan Police, The Telegraph, 5 February 2006).
There were no evidential issues that would delay criminal proceedings because there were ‘several different means of collecting the necessary evidence should it be required post-event’. (Metropolitan Police, The Telegraph, 5 February 2006).
It is now four weeks later. The police appear to be aware of the identity of those who committed offences but no arrests under any of the several possible criminal charges have been made. It is difficult to understand why this is so.
There is a clear public interest in ensuring that those who incite murder are appropriately dealt with and an equal public interest that there is no unnecessary delay. Furthermore, not to take action is to let down the moderate Muslim majority.
Justice needs to be done and be seen to be done rapidly. I would be grateful if you would let me know why no action appears to have been taken for what is now an unconscionable length of time.”
Congratulations to David Davis for not letting this issue die.