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  • Technorati: graph / links

    … and Stop & Search doesn’t even work


    by Sunny on 15th January, 2010 at 8:50 am    

    I have an article on LibCon about the ‘end of racism’ and John Denham’s excellent speech on race saying that in many ways class is more important. Have said that for ages. Also pointed out how many on the right are still obsessed by race, especially when it comes to Stop and Search.

    Left Foot Forward has some stats on this:

    Between October 2008 and September 2009 the Met alone carried out 162,846 such stops and searches, seven times more than in the same period three years earlier.

    The Met’s use of s44 stop-and-search has been disproportionately targeted at young Asian males, angering many in the capital’s Asian communities, and undermining their much-needed trust and confidence in the police who are there to serve and protect them. Hayman, now retired, defended this profiling approach last week in The Times.

    But targeting young Asian males is fraught with risk. Plenty of suicide bombers and their senders have been white, such as Nicky Reilly, or old, such as Samira Ahmed Jassim, or female, like Muriel Degauque. One of the failed 21/7 London bombers fled the capital dressed as a woman.

    And you know how right-wingers and the police defend this? By telling you the choice is only between stopping an Asian male and a old white granny. Pathetic.


         
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    Filed in: British Identity, Race politics






    46 Comments below   |  

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    1. pickles

      Blog post:: … and Stop & Search doesn't even work http://bit.ly/79ifzc




    1. Yakoub — on 15th January, 2010 at 9:12 am  

      My mate from school got stopped in Brum. He’s an East African Asian (family originate from Goa) Roman Catholic. He handed them is driving license, and asked the cops to look at his name, which is a long list of Catholic Saints (the source of much mockery when we were about 11), ending with a portuguese surname. It didn’t make a blind bit of difference. He was targetted because he was ‘Asian’! Stupid, or what!!

    2. MiriamBinder — on 15th January, 2010 at 9:45 am  

      The main problem of course is that Police Officers are first and foremost members of society; subject to all the same influences, norms and values as the rest of us.
      The thing is that though terrorism is a real threat, it isn’t as much of a daily threat as scanning the average news outlet would have you think.
      I accept without any hesitation that extremism exists and that there are individuals that have adopted extreme views/values whole heartedly; extreme far-right, fundamental Christianity/Islam/Judaism, extreme pro-lifers; vegans, fruitarians and any other life style, creed or objective.

      Just as an aside and trying to head off any side-tracking:
      1. I am aware of the fact that average British subjects have died, been maimed, lost family members and loved ones.
      2. I am sure that I would be devastated were it to have been one of my loved ones.
      3. Proportionately a very small number of people have been affected in any real sense by terrorism.

      I do feel however that we have tended to lose sight of the fact that Extremism, by its very nature, is at the far end of the scale of values; had it been otherwise it would not be extreme but the norm. It is something we would do well to remember. It seems to me that by and large the main ‘victims’ (for want of a better word) in this whole sorry state of affairs are the young Asian men who are being subjected to a disproportionate level of suspicion and stop and search.
      If we allow the view that extremism is everywhere and we walk around being paranoid we are effectively doing the extremist job without putting the extremist to the effort of having to do anything. That is quite aside from the fact that we run the risk of unintentionally doing the extremists’ recruitment for them; give a dog a bad name ;)

    3. platinum786 — on 15th January, 2010 at 9:53 am  

      Why do people even think stop and search is going to help prevent terrorism? Do you think terrorists just wander around carrying explosive material and terrorist literature etc?

      These targets based on ethnicity and religion are making us more at danger. The police waste resource and time combing through all the Paki’s and the Muslims, when they should be concentrating on finding out who the real threats are.

      Thing such as fertiliser sales to people who aren’t farmers, who the members of Al Muhajiroun, HT are, who regularly attends speeches by extremist guest clerics in the UK.

      Anjem Choudary and is chums who have been vocal supporters of terrorism in the UK for years and years are not Jihadi’s, they’re talkshops, the same guys who were telling me about jihad 10 years ago, still preach it to kids today albeit on different street corners and in less obvious attempts.

      The people you need to be watching is those who associate with them and then drop of the radar. The ones who hang around with them are just talkers, they never in a 1000 years will grow the testicular fortitude to walk the walk. The ones we should be watching is those who associate with them and then go off the radar. Are they people who realise these lot are chatting shit and get on with life, or are they who buy it and want to act on it, finding routes to the dark side.

    4. Rumbold — on 15th January, 2010 at 10:06 am  

      I got stopped under section 44, for no real reason, which suggests they might just stop white people randomly so the figures don’t look as bad.

    5. Dariа — on 15th January, 2010 at 10:16 am  

      I have read of white european-type people arrests in UK - for no reason, just to keep racial balance

    6. Ravi Naik — on 15th January, 2010 at 10:17 am  

      He handed them is driving license, and asked the cops to look at his name, which is a long list of Catholic Saints (the source of much mockery when we were about 11), ending with a portuguese surname. It didn’t make a blind bit of difference. He was targetted because he was ‘Asian’! Stupid, or what!!

      Why was your friend stopped? Was it right after the 7/7 bombings?

    7. cjcjc — on 15th January, 2010 at 10:53 am  

      Clearly a lot more work needs to be done…though I have to laugh at the “don’t accuse them of being dangerous otherwise they’ll become dangerous” line of argument.

      And I don’t see how the “stats”, such as they are in the article, in any way support the headline?

      Of course I hope they’re spending more time watching this bloke and the impressionable kids - sorry, I mean mature adults - whom he might be influencing at the “no problem here either” LSE.

      http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/article6988753.ece

    8. Col Bloodnokk ex M15 — on 15th January, 2010 at 11:53 am  

      Of course in my time we targeted IRA johnnies.

      None of them were Black or Asian but we had to pretend some were just to even things out.

      Totally barmy if you ask me.

      Oh you didn’t ?

      Bloodnokk
      The Bunker

    9. Boyo — on 15th January, 2010 at 1:36 pm  

      “It seems to me that by and large the main ‘victims’ (for want of a better word) in this whole sorry state of affairs are the young Asian men who are being subjected to a disproportionate level of suspicion and stop and search.”

      ’tis a thankless task policing… over 50 people were murdered on 7/7 Miriam and presumably many more horrifically injured, and many, many more of their loved ones suffer still (and yes, I saw your caveat, but that does not disguise your conclusion).

      Meanwhile a considerable number of plots aimed at repeating this kind of atrocity have been foiled, while at the same time the police know that when they do fail, as they inevitably will, there will be howls of opprobrium from all sides - the right for not doing enough, and the left for too much.

      While it is true bombers can take many forms, it is also true that South Asian Muslims constitute a sizeable proportion of the Muslim population of the UK, and Pakistan in particular is of concern with regard to security issues. This is not the fault of the police or British society or whatever, it is an Islamic phenomenon (and one that manifested itself long before Iraq, as we all know).

      The inconvenience of being stopped therefore is one that will inevitably have to be borne by some for as long as this phenomenon sustains. So-called leftists stoking grievances only adds to the illusion that the state/ British people are somehow to blame, and ultimately contributes to the drivers of terrorism.

    10. AngryAzn — on 15th January, 2010 at 1:54 pm  

      White lefties are hilarious

      “I have been stopped”

      LMFAO

    11. Sunny — on 15th January, 2010 at 2:19 pm  

      I got stopped under section 44, for no real reason, which suggests they might just stop white people randomly so the figures don’t look as bad.

      Which annoys the hell out of Tories even more. I saw some comments on ConHome, it’s like: yeah I know we were talking about grannies but why must they stop white people at all! its just to make up the numbers dammit! PC gaaawwwn mad!

      heh

    12. MiriamBinder — on 15th January, 2010 at 2:22 pm  

      Except boyo, it is not through ’stop and search’ that any plans are foiled.

    13. MiriamBinder — on 15th January, 2010 at 2:34 pm  

      Just came across an interesting little story. I don’t know how to insert links here so will just post the web-address at the end of this post.

      Boyo, seeing as you are so taken with the concept of justificaiton on the grounds of phenomenon. How would you feel about the Police profiling BNP members and using section 44 as justification. After all, I dare say that taken it in pure percentage terms they are as likely to have stacks of weaponry and explosives in their back bedroom as the average young Asian male is.

      http://www.google.com/hostednews/ukpress/article/ALeqM5h0CPwjUPPute09fL-d3yGk7E8bEw

    14. platinum786 — on 15th January, 2010 at 2:37 pm  

      This racial profiling of terrorists really is stupid.

      Look at the Glasgow attacks, those guys were doctors, who’d really assume a model professional was linked to something like this?

      How many of the radical clerics or attempted terrorists caught in the UK are Pakistani? I think you’ll probably find more arabs involved in shady dealings.

      Also whilst on the subject of divisions across ethnic or religious lines, how many Pakistani’s involved in terrorism are from AJK? The vast majority of Pakistani’s in the UK are from AJK an area next to totally unaffected by terrorism (apart from the last 2 months).

      Also look at the religious breakdown of Pakistani Muslims in the UK. How many of them are wahhabi’s? That’s ideological school most Al Queda members are from or move too. The vast majority of UK Muslims are not from that group.

      I’ll give you an example of my city, Derby. We have two large Mosques, wit congragations in the thousands, they’re the mainstream kind of Muslim you’ll find in the UK, Pakistani, probably mirpuri or potwari speaking, Barelvi/Sufi idologically. We’re actually targets of terrorism in Pakistan. We have around 8 smaller mosques (house based ones). 3 are Barelvi/sufi ones, one is a shia one, one is a hanbali/shafi one (Iraqi and Somali’s use it), 2 are deobandi ones, and one is a hardcore wahhabi one. It has a space for a couple of hundred people I think.

      Ironically the most liberal and the most extreme Muslims i know all attend the wahhabi one.

      Now when you’re profiling me at an airport, the information your using is my ethnic origin, my age etc.

      Even if it was to be successful, surely you should be profiling based on what islamic Ideology i seem to follow, what political circles i hang around in, what radicals I’ve had exposure too. At least this way they have narrowed down security efforts to the most high risk groups.

      All information the security services doesn’t have, rather you know I’m a young Muslim of Pakistani origin.

      Talk about muddying the waters….

      Even if you started profiling based on religious ideology, and political circles it wouldn’t work. You’d stop my neighbour, who’s practically a tree hugger.

      Look at the 911 attackers. They were in strip joints the nights before the attack. Look at the background of Anjem Choudary, drugs using alkie, who’s now trying to be super Muslim. If a Muslim fellows about a board a flight and has a bottle of Jack Daniels in his pocket, chances are your not gonna think he’s a terrorist.

      Profling will not work. You need hard evidence.

    15. platinum786 — on 15th January, 2010 at 2:39 pm  

      In conclusion, I think profiling of Muslims provides extremists with a veil to hide behind as it decreases their chances of being caught stastically speaking as intelligence resources are being wasted.

    16. Random Guy — on 15th January, 2010 at 2:50 pm  

      Of all the stop and searches carried out to date, how many have yielded a positive result that stopped a potential attack?

    17. Boyo — on 15th January, 2010 at 2:58 pm  

      @13 oh of course I’d be outraged if the police picked on my racist pals Miriam. It’s so much easier to smear than to think, isn’t it.

    18. asquith — on 15th January, 2010 at 3:30 pm  

      http://heresycorner.blogspot.com/2010/01/sir-ian-blair-defends-indefensible.html

      Why are people called Blair always cunts? Why?

      You see, this is why Eric Blair started calling himself George Orwell, because he didn’t want to be associated with the name :)

    19. Dalbir — on 15th January, 2010 at 4:01 pm  

      “Brown is the new black.”

    20. MiriamBinder — on 15th January, 2010 at 4:47 pm  

      @ Boyo # 7 - Whether or not you are racist or have racists friends is not my concern and I could care less … but not much.

      However I think your response illustrates very nicely what is a very normal response to that type of selectivity in response to the actions of an extremist. Based on nothing more then that he claims to be a member of a group that has openly discussed the desire to give preferential treatment to what they perceive as ‘white (Christian) English’. Oh and the fact that a few letters from that same party were found at the same address where 54 improvised explosive devices including nail bombs and a booby-trapped cigarette packet as well as 12 firearms were found?

      Yet you truly expect young Asian men to subject to it without anything more then that they happen to be young Asian men?

      Oh, and pray how can I smear a convicted weapons hoarder if I mention the fact that he is a convicted weapons hoarder.

    21. MaidMarian — on 15th January, 2010 at 6:59 pm  

      Platinum786 - Well, sort of.

      It may very well be the case that someone subject to S & S is unlikely to have dynamite strapped to them. In linking S & S to terror the government are guilty of pandering and I imagine that ministers know it. It is the wort sort of having something seen to be done.

      That being said I am rather reluctant to simply write off S & S simply because it is not effective in terror cases. Suppose there is an area of high knife crime - is S & S legitimate in such an area where, statistically at least there is a likelihood that individuals may be carrying a knife?

      Similarly, this linking of S & S with some inherent policing racism seems to me to be fatuous. In this regard, cjcjc seems to me to be correct. Simply because some policing activity produces racially unbalanced stats does not speak to some inherent malign intent. I go for a drink in a town where the population is largely white and there is a police presence in the evening where mostly white people congregate - is that racist?

      But more than that, we seem to be backing down from stepping on sensitive racial toes again. Take the knife crime example again. If there is high knife crime in an area where black people live, is it racist to police that area and use S & S because there may be racial sensitivity. Very much on balance, I would racial concerns are outweighed by the need to keep order.

      There are questions to be asked about fishing expedition policing (though if a crime is discovered, it is not enough to say the only thing the person is guilty of is getting caught) and whether S & S produces real results. But simply to think at the level of ‘the stats are racially unbalanced therefore this is racism’ is not an answer to anything.

    22. MaidMarian — on 15th January, 2010 at 7:07 pm  

      cjcjc - ‘Of course I hope they’re spending more time watching this bloke and the impressionable kids – sorry, I mean mature adults – whom he might be influencing at the “no problem here either” LSE.’

      I assume that is a kick at me after I accused you of Helen Lovejoy like pathos on a previous thread?

      I happen to take the view that people who are intelligent to get to a good university and who are old enough to drink, smoke, join the army and the like should not be viewed as, ‘impressionable kids.’ That is the worst kind of excuse-making for those who hold abhorrent views.

      Worse than that though, you are demanding the active a priori thought-policing of individuals. You clearly have an axe to grind about universities - I will leave that to you.

      However you much you may want to use impressionable kids as a stalking horse to hide behind to take shots at universities it is cobblers of the first order. Do you not hold out the slightest, faintest possibility that people may have a different view to you without wanting to kill you and that universities exist for reasons other than to visit misery on you personally?

      Thinking at the level of, ‘wont somebody please think of the children,’ is to encourage the worst kind of social nannying on the part of government.

      And believe me - read the Mitrokhinn Archives to be given some idea of how ‘impressionable’ adults at universities were in the supposed golden age of HE in the time 1950-1970.

    23. Boyo — on 15th January, 2010 at 7:11 pm  

      @20 Doh.

    24. MiriamBinder — on 15th January, 2010 at 8:36 pm  

      Have a donut ;)

    25. MiriamBinder — on 15th January, 2010 at 8:52 pm  

      Stop and search needs cause …
      from the met website:

      Only a police officer can stop and go onto search you, your clothes and anything you are carrying, except when powers under the Terrorism Act 2000 are being used then police community support officers may search vehicles and bags carried by persons under the supervision of a police officer.

      You may be stopped as the officer may have grounds to suspect that you are carrying:

      Drugs, weapons or stolen property
      Items that could be used:
      to commit crime.
      to commit an act of terrorism
      to cause criminal damage.

      There is a lot more but in essence, a Police Officer must have cause for a stop and search.

      I would hesitate to use the word racism but as stated in a previous post on this topic, police officers are first and foremost members of the general society they are policing; and will reflect this in their general actions.

      I would be very interested in learning the ‘Cause’ given in most cases and the percentage of ‘empty’ stop and search incidents.

    26. MaidMarian — on 15th January, 2010 at 9:30 pm  

      MB - Yes, it would be interesting to know the cause. The perception seems to be that if you are subject to S & S then you are suspected of being a terrorist. It may be true, but seeing the hard numbers would be interesting.

    27. persephone — on 15th January, 2010 at 11:50 pm  

      “ And you know how right-wingers and the police defend this? By telling you the choice is only between stopping an Asian male and a old white granny”

      When I hear of this as the rationale it makes me wonder if old white grannies are hanging nearby, late evening, in the same street as said asian youths (and no other ‘groups’ of people present) when the stop & search occurs. Which, if that is the case, the police are making a clear & direct choice b/n the two. But a part of me thinks that old white grannies are no way nearby at such times …

      Using the same rationale, do the police make a choice when faced with old brown grannies too?

      And am not convinced that all right wingers do defend it.

    28. douglas clark — on 16th January, 2010 at 5:49 am  

      persephone,

      Old white grannies.

      I suppose you can guess that some of these women, in their eighties and nineties now, may have married outwith their own group? Heavens! Some of them may have married Asians. And their children may have done so too. Perhaps not too likely, but hardly impossible.

      So, there is a slight chance that the asian youth would walk over to his grandmother and ask her how she’s doing.

      It’s the problem about making assumptions isn’t it.

      Now, elderly spinsters might be a different story. You’d need Police Rapid Response units to deal with them…

    29. Ravi Naik — on 16th January, 2010 at 8:56 am  

      And you know how right-wingers and the police defend this? By telling you the choice is only between stopping an Asian male and a old white granny.

      I would expect that by now someone would have drafted a conclusive and objective study on whether racial profiling actually works based on those 162,846 stop and searches.

    30. MiriamBinder — on 16th January, 2010 at 9:19 am  

      Personally I am of the opinion that ‘Stop and Search’ under section 44 has become a bone to throw to the baying hordes … it says ‘Look, we are doing something!’

    31. platinum786 — on 16th January, 2010 at 9:54 am  

      I’m not entirely oppposed to S&S, but I think as a tool that is used randomly it’s pointless.

      Take knife crime for example. Every city has certain estates, where knife crime and gang crime is likely to occur. These are areas where people do carry weapons.

      However is it a best use of resource to be carrying out stop and search against people in the entire area? Mostly gangs tend to hang out around a few streets, in a certain park etc. You need to know members of gangs, you need to know the gang haunts, their activities and constantly target them, hassle people who choose to be gang members, rather than anyone willy nilly.

      Around the corner from my street in the last 18 months a man was stabbed to death, a gun was fired, and the two parties involved had been involved in at least two other fight before these two incidents. Why do the police not know who these people are? They are people who hang around as a gang, why don’t they identify them and hassle them, they might have found a gun, they might have found a knife, they might have stopped a car full of lads armed with bats and knifes hunting a man down.

    32. douglas clark — on 16th January, 2010 at 9:55 am  

      MiriamBinder,

      I think a lot of government anti-terrorist initiatives are about ‘throwing bones to the baying hordes’.

      Realistically, it is going to take something other than street and airport theatre to defeat this.

      I asked, elsewhere, whether airport, at the point of passenger scrutiny, had actually worked. There is a kind of iffy case from 1986:

      http://frontpagemag.com/2010/01/05/security-theater-now-playing-at-your-airport-by-daniel-pipes/

      That’s it. There is no evidence, except in the negative, that it is actually achieving anything. It would seem obvious to me that, if airliners are hardened against security threats then other concentrations of victims would become a target for warped minds. Such as railways in Madrid and London. Or buses.

      I am not suggesting that we ‘give up’ on airport security, I am suggesting though that our entire strategy is likely to fail, unless and until we divert money to actually identifying the warped bastards that want to kill us. That seems to me to be a priority, and one that airport theatre is a diversion from.

      We have an obvious ratchet effect at play here. And with no obvious benefit.

    33. douglas clark — on 16th January, 2010 at 10:06 am  

      MiriamBinder,

      Apologies, I missed my main point. It is the only example that suggests all this checking is justified.

      One, iffy case from 1986.

      That’s it.

      Perhaps other folk can provide other examples, but I doubt it.

    34. Newmania — on 16th January, 2010 at 10:31 am  

      Having a quick look down the terorist incidents of the past few years it looms to me as if there is abracist focus on whites given the relative un-likeliness of them bombing anyone and the bodies hardly does the real position justice.
      A cache of arms was found at Islington`s Mosque I recall a few years ago . Perhpa they should have serached the methodists and the C of E so it was fair on everyone
      and then again perhaps there are black and brown people who would rather they were not blown up than participate in dated identity politics and perpetual grievance

    35. MiriamBinder — on 16th January, 2010 at 10:48 am  

      I am inclined to agree with you Douglas regarding the general aim of Government anti-terrorism initiatives. The trouble is that someone at one stage told the average Jo/e Bloggs that they had a right to know and suddenly we are all consultants.

      The fact is that for the most part these things happen behind closed doors and require extensive ‘cloak and dagger’ style operations. That is where the real work is done; in extensive, painstakingly meticulous, mind numbingly repetitive investigations. Checking and cross checking.

      All these ‘bones’ take time, effort and funding that would be better deployed somewhere else but it seems the baying hordes once awoken need to be fed. Even if it is only some make believe. It was easy when my daughter was small and pretended to be a ruler. I just made her abdicate when it was time for bath and bed ;)

    36. douglas clark — on 16th January, 2010 at 11:40 am  

      MiriamBinder,

      I don’t think this is exactly right:

      The trouble is that someone at one stage told the average Jo/e Bloggs that they had a right to know and suddenly we are all consultants.

      I do think that there is a complete pretence that spying on people is in some way difficult, or indeed worthwhile.

      Or that it is hard to understand why the state might think it useful. It is easy. It is what we should do, apparently if we want to stop this.

      The fact that it doesn’t work is a sort of elephant in the room.

      I think there is a complete lack of intelligence, in the sense of intelligence, being used here.

    37. douglas clark — on 16th January, 2010 at 12:04 pm  

      Newmania,

      What ‘list’ were you looking down?

      I’d have thought muslim on muslim murder was a bit more prevelant. But you, newmania, have the facts.

      Please present them…

    38. Rumbold — on 16th January, 2010 at 5:52 pm  

      Newmania:

      What about the white, far-right terrorist who has just been convicted of manufacturing weapons and bombs?

    39. douglas clark — on 16th January, 2010 at 6:31 pm  

      Rumbold,

      Would that be Robert Cottage? Or David Copeland or James Shaw. Or, perhaps Stuart Kerr? The propensity to bomb folk you think are less than human is not exclusive to Islamists.

      http://212.150.54.123/articles/articledet.cfm?articleid=118

    40. MiriamBinder — on 16th January, 2010 at 7:01 pm  

      The latest to add to a growing list is Terence Gavan … see more here http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/8462205.stm

    41. Rumbold — on 16th January, 2010 at 7:34 pm  

      Douglas:

      I was thinking of Terence. Though the others are valid as well.

    42. douglas clark — on 16th January, 2010 at 8:03 pm  

      Rumbold and MiriamBinder,

      Thanks for that.

      Sometimes I think not enough folk around here see the wood for the trees, and then you two come along…

      Ravi Naik has a very good point @ 29. When are we going to be evidence based rather than media dominated?

    43. douglas clark — on 16th January, 2010 at 8:17 pm  

      Newmania @ 34,

      Just because it’s been bugging me, what the heck does ‘abracist’ mean?

    44. MaidMarian — on 17th January, 2010 at 12:16 am  

      douglas clark - ‘I am not suggesting that we ‘give up’ on airport security, I am suggesting though that our entire strategy is likely to fail, unless and until we divert money to actually identifying the warped bastards that want to kill us. That seems to me to be a priority, and one that airport theatre is a diversion from.’

      Point well taken. But at some point there are going to be civil liberty toes that need to be trodden on.

      A better debate for PP would be something like this:

      We may or may not have seen petty authoritarianism - YES
      We have become more restricted in our liberty - YES
      What then of those restrictions should be repealed?

      For what it’s worth:

      Airport Security - Probably
      Smoking Ban - on balance, no
      CCTV - Matter for private firms.
      ID Cards - Yes, but on cost, not civil liberty grounds
      Handgun ban - No.
      Dangerous Dogs ban - Probably yes/

      Not that easy is it?

    45. persephone — on 17th January, 2010 at 8:41 pm  

      Douglas

      “I suppose you can guess that some of these women, in their eighties and nineties now, may have married outwith their own group? Heavens! Some of them may have married Asians. And their children may have done so too. “Perhaps not too likely, but hardly impossible.”

      Yes but am not convinced that those who set up/defend the rationale behind stop & search appreciate this. They also do not appreciate that if they stereotype so much on the ground then such groups will proactively select non stereotypes to carry out their plans.

      “Now,elderly spinsters might be a different story. You’d need Police Rapid Response units to deal with them…”

      Dunno. What experiences have you had to say this?

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