Police warned over Ramadan arrests

Press Association
Saturday October 21, 2006 1:58 PM

Police in Manchester, England have been told not to arrest Muslims wanted on warrants at prayer times during the holy month of Ramadan.

An internal email listing prayer times was sent to officers in the metropolitan division asking them not to make planned arrests during those periods for reasons of religious sensitivity, Greater Manchester Police confirmed.

Some officers are said to have been angered by the instruction.

But a police spokesman said confusion arose because the original memo was unclear, and a second email has clarified that there is no blanket ban on arrests, simply a request for sensitivity.

The latter email also stressed the order did not apply to on-the-spot arrests, only the execution of arrest warrants.

Greater Manchester Police describe their metropolitan division as covering "one of the most diverse in the UK with a wide range of ethnic groups". It serves the communities of Moss Side, Hulme, Whalley Range, Rusholme, Fallowfield, Ardwick, Longsight, Gorton and Levenshulme.

Ramadan is due to end next week, with Eid-ul-Fitr celebrations marking the end of the fasting period.

A Greater Manchester Police statement said: "The primary objective of Greater Manchester Police is to fight crime and protect people.

"The month of Ramadan is an important time of the year for members of the Muslim community throughout the world.

"It is important that normal, planned policing activities and operations are maintained, while ensuring that officers are professional and respectful to members of the community while going about their duties."