FIRST comes the flash, bang, wallop, with hundreds of sleeping citizens startled from their slumbers – then the ‘serious’ stuff begins.
On Tuesday in broad daylight, images of sub-machine gun toting, black-masked anti-terror operatives – nothing so common as ‘PC Plod’ here – swarming Headfield Road, actually had me chuckling.
Were they expecting an ISIS death unit to come storming out of the bungalow at them, all guns blazing? It was hardly likely, given that the property had been secured and emptied many hours previously.
Still, nothing like masks and guns to “reassure” the public. Not.
I thought for a minute the terror-busters were wearing the masks to perhaps settle the nerves of the local Savile Town community – after all, the ladies in those parts all favour the ‘eyes-only’ public appearance thingy.
The superheroes would look a bit daft wearing the full flowing burkha over their body armour to try to ‘blend in’, true. Give it time.
But really, the black masks, making them look like part of an East German cold war death squad – what was that all about? – complete with paramilitary-style baseball caps for a bit of Hollywood effect.
Here’s the thing. The ordinary, bored, hi-vis-clad PCs left to stand about in the rain ‘guarding’ the properties for the next few days all had their mushes seen by locals and plastered over the media. No anonymity for them.
But the tough guys, the terror-busters, armed to the teeth like Rambo in a bad mood – they get to wear masks presumably so that no one can identify them.
Now, this could just be me, but ask yourself. If you were barking mad enough to want to exact some warped vengeance on a member of the police force, who would you target? Would it be:
A) PC Timothy Timid, not allowed out in Dewsbury town centre on his own after dark (or mostly in broad daylight either)?
Or would it be: B) Special Agent Dick Deadly, who can take the eye out of a flying wasp at 200 yards with his 9mm Glock, while laying low an entire jihadi death squad with his Heckler & Koch MP5?
Yeah, me too.
So actually no, I am singularly unimpressed by the posturing police and not in the slightest bit reassured.
THE police were given an extra week to question the father and son reported by Savile Town and Thornhill Lees locals to have been arrested.
They refused to comment on the possibility of the target being a UK leisure facility – within hours The Press understood from a ‘community’ source that word was the White Rose Centre in Leeds was the intended target.
How that could possibly be widely known, I really don’t have an earthly. If true, then it raises all kinds of uncomfortable questions.
Tuesday was the day some racist lunatic had nominated as ‘Punish a Muslim Day’, with letters sent out hither and thither, suggesting people score points for everything from pulling a woman’s veil off, to acid attacks and targeting mosques.
If – and hopefully they do – the police ever find out exactly who was behind that, they need to be locked up for a very long time.
Pleasingly, it had the opposite effect, with lots of community events celebrating exactly the opposite of ‘Punish a Muslim’. Good.
But it does lend itself to the idea that any Islamist-inspired terror attack could have been earmarked to coincide with it, perhaps prompting the NE Counter-Terrorism cops to pounce when they did.
As speculation ran rife around the district this week, my mind turned to the unknown fate of Hassan Munshi.
The former Mirfield Free Grammar student, grandson of senior Savile Town cleric and Shariah Court grandee Sheikh Yakub Munshi, eloped with his pal Talha Asmal in 2015 to join ISIS.
Asmal died in a suicide bombing in northern Iraq, but of his pal Hassan, the younger brother of England’s then-youngest terrorist Hamaad Munshi who was arrested in 2005, there has been no word.
I tried to find out his fate from the Home Office last year.
If you hadn’t noticed, since we were warned that hundreds of defeated ISIS jihadis would be heading home from Iraq and Syria, we have had absolutely zero word from the Government.
Are these warriors being ‘dealt with’ before they leave the war zone, as Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson bravely suggested?
Are they being harvested upon their return and subjected to some form of extra-judicial detainment that’s being kept from us?
Or are they – my suspicion – being allowed to quietly meld back into places like Savile Town or Tower Hamlets in the hope that having had their ‘adventure’ they might assimilate back into what passes for normal life?
The Home Office refused to comment, as you’d expect. But I suspect someone’s going to have questions to answer in the future.
If this week’s raid was pre-emptive, and the intelligence came from within the Savile Town and Thornhill Lees community, then well done to them.
I think the police could go a lot farther to reassuring all of us by sharing that sort of information – if true – than posing in their paramilitary garb.
SO, WHAT did the Romans ever do for us? Baths and central heating. Coinage and numeracy, a sewage system … oh and roads, don’t forget roads.
Especially don’t forget roads, as ones the Romans built 2,000 years ago are in better repair than the ones we put down in the 1980s – and resurface every other year.
I can’t just blame Kirklees Council for the appalling state of local roads, because it’s a national problem. The M1 between junctions 46 and 45 is a disgrace.
I’ve never known a winter like this one for persistently lousy weather. Word reaches me that Noah’s two goldfishes even drowned.
The point remains however – how come the Romans could build roads that last millennia, while we put down cheap (as in durability, not cost) surfaces that can’t withstand a few weeks of rain?
One obvious answer is volume of traffic. And given the flooding issues smack bang where Kirklees plan on building Shariahtown’s 4,000 homes, can I suggest they all come with a rowing boat instead of a garage?
IT’S interesting to compare the approach of the respective mayors of New York and London towards crime, at a moment in history when our once ‘genteel’ capital racks up more murders than the gun-ridden home of the Mafia.
Successive New York mayors, starting with Rudy Giuliani 25 years ago, have targeted low-level street crime – the ‘broken windows’ theory – as the gateway to making communities safer and reducing overall criminality.
True, they spent on extra officers, but they did so because it was a priority.
London mayor Sadiq Khan meanwhile pours his money into things like a special police unit that monitors online hate crime – you know, really serious, life-changing crime like calling somebody a name on Facebook, or someone of south Asian heritage “a terrorist sympathiser” in a tweet.
Sorry Mr Mayor, but whatever happened to “sticks and stones may break my bones…”? What indeed.
I’ll tell you what real hate crime is – a teenager sticking a knife in someone’s guts, or shooting a kid in the face.
There’s a good reason why Sadiq Khan is uncomfortable with London fast catching Detroit in the murder stakes – because the vast majority of these killings and stabbings are black on black, brown on brown.
It’s not Brexit voters, it’s not middle class white kids, it’s the products of the very communities that put Khan in power. He hasn’t the wit to deal with it, nor the courage to confront it.
Still, not to worry Sadiq. You can always rely on the Met to bang up a 78-year-old man who defended his home against armed burglars and – oops – happened to kill one.
Hopefully the tin-eared Met and CPS will see sense for once, and the gent will be free to go urinate on the burglar’s grave. If he gives me notice, I’ll come join in.