Roger Whittaker

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Thursday 23rd April 2009

This article in the Guardian a few days ago discusses the role of "specialist" police squads which have been involved in the policing of demonstrations.

According to The Job, the force's in-house magazine, TSG officers - who can be identified by a "U" on shoulder epaulette numbers - are better known as the "tough guys and girls" of the Met.

The TSG has been involved in other activities.

But the TSG has been involved in serious controversy in the past. A judge said last month that six TSG officers had carried out a "serious, gratuitous and prolonged" attack on a terrorism suspect, Babar Ahmed, six years ago. The team of six officers involved in the attack on Ahmed, who was arrested at his home by the TSG unit, had already been at the centre of as many as 60 complaints about unwarranted assaults on black or Asian men, the Guardian has revealed.

None of the officers involved in the assault on Ahmed has been disciplined and five of them are still working in the territorial support group. The Met said at the time that the complaints were investigated and found to be unsubstantiated.

A quick reminder about the Babar Ahmed case: a few days after he was severely beaten during his arrest, in front of his wife, in 2003, he was released without charge.

Soon after he complained about his treatment by the police and papers were passed on to the Crown Prosecution Service, an application was made in the US for his extradition there under the then new treaty that allows the US to gain the extradition of UK citizens without having to make out a prima facie case in court against them.

He has been fighting against extradition since then.

Any alleged crime that he might have carried out took place in this country, and yet he has not been charged in this country.

In the case that he brought against the police, the police admitted liability and paid damages in March this year.


The case was against five officers of the Territorial Support Group from Paddington Green police station, one of whom was identified only as X. It had been expected to last all week. But the medical evidence that was to be brought of the litany of injuries sustained by Ahmad, the mysterious loss by the police of sacks of documents of records of the arrest, the refusal by some officers to attend the court, citing "fear", and the chance discovery by Ahmad's legal team that X was facing another case of assault, meant that Sir Paul Stevenson preferred to pay than see the case continue. But the police still refused to apologise.

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