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Ministers "block police op on arms dealers"

laptop | 12.09.2003 18:45 | DSEi 2003 | Analysis | Anti-militarism | London

The Daily Mirror says the Met police wanted to arrest
arms dealers inside DSEi. They estimated 300 were
trading without licences. The Home Office instructed
them to do no such thing...

According to an article in today's Daily Mirror at

... "Dozens of the 1,000 companies touting for business at the exhibition are unlicensed.

"Scotland Yard has issued a blistering rebuke to the Government and handed out warning letters to the illegal exhibitors.

"But the Government has ignored police concerns over security and insisted no action be taken against companies breaking the law.

"It means hundreds of arms dealers from around the world, including notoriously unscrupulous companies from unstable regions, have been allowed to ply their trade without even cursory checks on their credentials.

"And police have ignored the law being broken inside the Defence Systems and Equipment International exhibition in London's Docklands while outside they have arrested more than 130 anti-arms protesters."

All of which suggests that there was a plan to be, er,
even-handed. Or at least that retroactively someone
wants to create that impression.

Somone senior: The Met has clearly authorised
the hacks to give the impression it's all David
Blunkett's fault (revenge for his passing the
buck over the Terror Act thing... through which the
DSEi story predictably transmuted from life and
death to a Consitutional Crisis in the broadsheets...)


"A senior Home Office source said: 'It is staggering that at a time when a terrorist attack is considered inevitable, an unknown bunch of arms dealers can turn up and flog weapons without anyone knowing a thing about them.

'Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein could be behind companies selling arms in London this week and we wouldn't have a clue.'"

And even stranger:

"Police chiefs initially wanted to shut down the arms show, which is costing the taxpayer £1.5million.

"In a document leaked to the Daily Mirror, Chief Inspector Stephen Lee of the Metropolitan Police Firearms Enquiry Teams warned a Home Office official: 'The integrity of the police force cannot be put in such an invidious position and as it stands, I will be asking Firearms Enquiry Team officers to enforce the law, either through prosecution or demanding the removal of the exhibits'."

Phew. If true.

Someone will be dropping the Met a note suggesting that
whever the Home Office pisses them around that much,
they should simply refuse to arrest anyone outside
either :-)

Whatever, expect DSEi 2005 to be held in tents at Foulness.
or Glen Douglas, or somewhere...

Oh, and the Mirror ran a pic of the TSquare fountains, and
unlike Ceefax (to which it was alll a puzzling mystery...
police hunting two mystery people) and the Press Association
(which studiously ignored it, online at least) managed to
quote someone who may have done it.



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  1. article and url — mhor