In Northern Ireland over the past three decades a vast number of unfeasably brave officers have defied the threats to their person to serve their community without fear or favour. However, it is also a fact, overlooked by David Davis in his Telegraph article today, that we have for years been excusing Catholic policemen from policing protestant areas, and always on grounds of personal safety.
If you want a multi cultural police force, you have to apply common sense to the way you deploy them. If Muslims applicants think that they and their families may be placed in personal danger, they will not join and the end result will be the very white uni-cultural police force that common decency would suggest is unhealthy in a multi cultural society.
David Davis also grossly misrepresents policing as equivalent to soldiering. The two are fundamentally different. Soldiering is, frankly, about 'identifying and neutralising an enemy', i.e. killing people. Policing is about maintaining peaceful, law abiding communities, from within those communities. Soldiering necessarily comes with a tolerated cost in human life. Policing does not and should not.
This man did not refuse to police, he simply raised an uncomfortable issue resulting from an unforseen consequence of his service and asked for some common sense. It is most unpleasant that we cast this man as an insubordinate coward. He represents great bravery simply by wearing the uniform in today's society.
This man will have served for a number of years prior to his appointment to this specialist division. I wonder what an examination of his record would reveal? After all here is a Muslim man who has policed communities in our country during some particularly turbulent years. Just stop for a moment and ask yourself what sort of person volunteers for today's police, let alone what sort of Muslim person.
The most important point is that he only appears to have requested the redeployment because the threat was to his wider family. As is revealed in a further Telegraph article today, PC Omar Bashar's employment is widely known within his community and by an extremist cleric living in the Lebanon, where his wife's family also live. He had already previously intervened to prevent Muslims from distributing offensive material outside a North London library.
No policeman should request redeployment through fear for his own safety, nor should they refuse to police on any grounds. But when it can be demonstrated that the lives of innocent relations are at risk, common sense applies. It was not his own safety he was trying to preserve but those of innocent bystanders.