Complaint launched against Bedfordshire PCC
Luton Council of Mosques has launched a complaint against Bedfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner Kathryn Holloway after she shared details of on-going sexual offence investigations during a televised hearing.
Crucially, LCM claim that a female victim was subjected to a serious assault “as a direct result” of the PCC’s open testimony to the Home Affairs Select Committee on November 14 last year.
Today, Bedfordshire Police and Crime Panel met to discuss a complaint against the PCC, although it has since been confirmed this related to a separate matter.
In a joint letter with Luton Sunni Council of Mosques, LCM stated: “Not only are we surprised at your speaking of a live investigation in a public context, we are extremely concerned at the impact of this story in our Luton community and beyond.”
Four police and crime commissioners from across the UK – including Mrs Holloway – were invited to give evidence to the parliamentary Home Affairs Select Committee in November to discuss police funding.
Of the four PCCs, Mrs Holloway was the only one to venture into operational details about her force’s performance.
She described ongoing child sexual exploitation investigations, “with the type of nuances of those we have seen previously in Rotherham, Rochdale, Oxford and Manchester”.
LCM complained this was a clear inference that these were cases involving Muslim men – which they have claimed is not accurate.
The PCC also discussed the number of “suspects” and information about DNA evidence in relation to one current investigation.
LCM added: “We have been made aware through organisations that support some of the victims of historic child sexual exploitation that a young woman was subject to a serious assault as a direct result of your public testimony. This is indefensible.”
In addition to this, the PCC also told the November hearing that counter-terrorism intelligence units had discovered a “lost generation” of Muslim children in Bedfordshire being brought up in households with jihadist material.
LCM stated: “Again, we know that this is not an honest representation of the situation.
“Moreover, to speak of our children as a ‘lost generation’ is deeply offensive and damaging.
“It is our belief that both these statements were made in an attempt to position Muslims in Luton as a ‘problem community’ in order to be used as a tool to secure more funding for the force.
“Aside from being an astoundingly poor political decision, this is also entirely unethical.”
Tensions already existed between LCM and the the PCC before the hearing, and reference was made to correspondence in June last year following the London and Manchester terror attacks.
LCM added: “We are disturbed by your regressive and somewhat xenophobic views regarding the Muslim community.”
Mrs Holloway’s office have issued the following statement in response to the complaint: “The PCC has responded in full to categorically deny matters raised in the letter to her from the Luton Council of Mosques and Luton Sunni Council of Mosques which made inaccurate claims. She wrote a private letter in reply and has no intention of discussing private correspondence.”