Monday, July 07, 2008

British sniffer dogs to wear `Muslim' bootees

Police sniffer dogs will have to wear bootees when searching the homes of Muslims so as not to cause offence. Guidelines being drawn up by the Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo) urge awareness of religious sensitivities when using dogs to search for drugs and explosives. The guidelines, to be published this year, were designed to cover mosques but have been extended to include other buildings.

Where Muslims object, officers will be obliged to use sniffer dogs only in exceptional cases. Where dogs are used, they will have to wear bootees with rubber soles. "We are trying to ensure that police forces are aware of sensitivities that people can have with the dogs to make sure they are not going against any religious or cultural element within people's homes. It is being addressed and forces are working towards doing it," Acpo said.

Problems faced by the use of sniffer dogs were highlighted last week when Tayside police were forced to apologise for a crime prevention poster featuring a german shepherd puppy, in response to a complaint by a Muslim councillor. Islamic injunctions warn Muslims against contact with dogs, which are regarded as "unclean".

Police dogs at present are issued with footwear only at scenes of explosions to prevent them injuring their paws on broken glass.

Ibrahim Mogra, one of Britain's leading imams, said the measures were unnecessary: "In Islamic law the dog is not regarded as impure, only its saliva is. Most Islamic schools of law agree on that. If security measures require to send a dog into a house, then it has to be done. I think Acpo needs to consult better and more widely. "I know in the Muslim community there is a hang-up against dogs, but this is cultural. Also, we know the British like dogs; we Muslims should do our bit to change our attitudes."

John Midgley, co-founder of the Campaign Against Political Correctness, said: "The police are in effect being overly sensitive to potential criminals and not being sensitive enough to the public at large who need to be protected. These sort of things have a counter-productive effect because they cause huge friction between different communities." Caroline Kisko, of the Kennel Club, said: "We would not condone any attempt to make search dogs wear special clothing, which could cause them distress."


Now it is a British cop being rewarded for delicate feelings

No sense of humor at all:
"Scotland Yard's most prolific sharpshooter has been secretly awarded 5,000 pounds in damages for "hurt feelings" because a female police chief jokingly called him a "serial killer". The firearms officer - who is nicknamed "Killer" because of his prowess in shooting dead suspects in armed sieges - received the payout after the Metropolitan police decided that to defend the action at an employment tribunal would be a waste of public money.

The expensive joke was made by Commander Sue Akers, a highly regarded Met officer who is in charge of Scotland Yard's fight against gun crime.... Akers's faux pas came at a social function when she introduced herself to the firearms officer with the words: "I've always wanted to meet the Met's very own serial killer." The officer is a member of the elite CO19 firearms unit and has shot dead a number of suspects in his career. Colleagues say he failed to see the funny side of her remarks.

Akers was said to have been distraught at his reaction and later made a formal apology. However, "Killer" insisted his feelings had been hurt and that he had been maligned. He filed a formal complaint about the joke and it was feared he might take legal action at a tribunal.


I guess he knows how crazy Britain is about hurt feelings and decided to make a bundle of money out of it. I doubt that he will be very popular after this, though.

Walter Shakespeare? More evidence of the decline in British education

The questions, you might think, are child's play. But the number of adults who struggled with the answers paints a disturbing picture of a nation of dunces. In a test carried out for an information website, many were unable to answer questions aimed at children as young as seven. And some were guilty of the most appalling howlers, including giving Shakespeare's first name as Walter, the capital of Sweden as Oslo, and the cube of 2 as 24.

More than 2,000 adults were asked ten questions based on the Key Stage Two curriculum, which is studied by children aged seven to 11. Only 5 per cent answered all ten questions correctly and 3 per cent scored a dismal one out of ten. Critics will cite the findings as an indictment of the education system, which has been accused of failing to adequately teach schoolleavers important facts and figures.

The average score was just six questions right. In the South East and South West the average was seven, dropping to three in the North West. Seventy-seven per cent could not spell the word 'skilful', 35 per cent did not know that a heptagon has seven sides and 58 per cent incorrectly named the capital of Sweden, with some thinking it was Gothenburg or even the Finnish capital Helsinki.

Twelve per cent suggested that the Bard's first name was Walter and 7 per cent believed that Henry VIII was on the throne in 1900. In all, 39 per cent could not name Queen Victoria as the reigning monarch at the start of the 20th century. The dates of the Second World War, the medical term for the skull and the name of the planet nearest the sun also caused problems.

The test was sat only by adults but based around questions that children aged seven to 11 would be expected to be able to answer. Andy Salmon, founder of, which undertook the nationwide general knowledge test, said: 'Considering that these questions could be answered by at least a seven-year-old, you might say the test was easy and so an average score of six out of ten is pretty weak. 'Of course, it's not that any of the questions were particularly difficult, we have all been taught the information, it is retaining the knowledge that is the hard bit.' Mr Salmon's website advises people to remember facts and figures by linking the answer to a memorable phrase.


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