An anti-terrorism officer warned shopkeepers and business owners not to “stereotype” terrorists this morning.
Detective Sergeant David Parkes, from Counter Terrorism Command, delivered a one-hour presentation to encourage people to report suspicious activity as part of Operation Griffin, the Met police’s week-long terrorism awareness project.
DS Parkes, who delivered the presentation at Cineworld in Wood Green Mall, was keen to emphasise the number of terrorist plots prevented because of intelligence from members of the public.
He said that although there was no threat to Wood Green in particular, people needed to be aware of an ongoing threat from people of all ethnicities and social standings.
He said: “We used to get what I’d call unintentional racism after 7/7. I used to feel so sorry for the Asian guy on the tube because he’d be there with his rucksack at one end of the tube and everyone else would be the other end.”
DS Parkes’s introductory video showed footage from the terrorist attack of 9/11, though he was keen to point out that there were terrorist groups other than Al-Qaeda threatening the UK, such as Irish dissidents and white supremacists.
He added that white, Western European citizens were convicted Al-Qaeda terrorists, including Muriel Degauque, a Belgian woman who blew herself up in Iraq in 2005.
Inspire magazine, which contains an article entitled “how to make a bomb in your mom’s kitchen”, is clearly aimed at young Westerners, said DS Parkes.
He then demonstrated that recognisable vehicles such as fire engines and ambulances could be bought on the online auction website ebay and should be treated with suspicion.
He added that fake passports were similarly easy to produce and hard to detect.