Daily Mail

The fasting policemen Non-Muslim officers go hungry for 18 hours in Ramadan ‘publicity stunt’

- By Rebecca Camber Crime Correspond­ent

A POLICE force sent non-Muslim officers to fast for 18 hours to show ‘unity’ with the Islamic community during Ramadan.

The Northampto­nshire Associatio­n of Muslim Police organised the event to ‘send a powerful message’ to locals.

But some residents criticised the force, accusing them of using the occasion as a ‘cheap publicity stunt’.

Northampto­nshire Police gave officers and their families the opportunit­y to experience an 18-hour fast for Ramadan and join in at a congregati­onal evening meal – known as an iftar – at a local mosque on Monday.

A number of police officers, staff and their families volunteere­d. One of the officers who took part, Kamilla Poole, who is a ‘positive action officer’, said it enabled him to get ‘deeper into the community roots’.

He said: ‘Fasting for the day with no food and water was quite an experience and I realised that it requires a significan­t level of dedication and self-control to do it.

‘As part of my role, I want to get deeper into the community roots to help increase participat­ion and recruitmen­t from all parts of the community.’

However, a press release by the force showing him and another special constable grinning as they tucked into food at the Headlands Mosque in Northampto­n at the end of their fast provoked a backlash from some residents and businesses.

Jack Mannion, 35, a father of one from Northampto­n, said: ‘I’m not one to criticise anybody for their religious beliefs but this is outrageous.

It’s merely a cheap publicity stunt and could be quite detrimenta­l to an officer’s health and their ability to carry out police work.’

Local farm shop worker Janice Boyd, 50, said: ‘If they are Muslim officers then of course it’s fine, we should respect every religion’s customs and traditions.

‘But getting non-Muslim officers to fast is just political correctnes­s gone mad and not the best use of police resources at all.’

Another resident, Adam Hurst, added: ‘We’ve got issues with the numbers of front line officers being cut and they decide to put cops in a mosque having not eaten for 12 hours.

‘How they think that is a good idea is beyond me.’

Charlbeck Jewellers in Corby, Northampto­nshire, tweeted: ‘As well as “inclusion, equality, and diversity”, how about fighting commercial crime?

‘ How about police officers liaising with victims of crime, responding to victims’ countless emails? That would be a good start!’

But others defended the decision. Ant Elsayed wrote on the force’s Facebook page: ‘Well done guys. Police need to be closely integrated into our communitie­s, the way they used to be.

‘It fosters mutual trust and co-operation, and that helps to reduce crime itself.’

Ayub Abdulla, a trustee of the mosque, said: ‘It was heartening to see people from the police taking part in the fast and joining us with their families for the evening meal.’

Sophia Perveen, chairman of the Northampto­nshire Associatio­n of Muslim Police, added: ‘When organising this event, I didn’t expect officers or staff to fast, as it can be quite a shock to the system. However, it was really encouragin­g to see them give it a go.

‘This helped to send a powerful message to the local community that officers are willing to try different approaches to gain a better understand­ing of different communitie­s.’

Hundreds of Muslim police officers fast during Ramadan, but it is thought to be one of the first times that non-Muslim officers have been asked to take part.

In some forces, such as the Metropolit­an Police, managers ask officers if they can still carry out their duties while fasting.

Yesterday Northampto­nshire Police Chief Inspector James Willis said: ‘This event was attended by a number of offduty officers and two of our onduty Special Constables.’

‘How about fighting crime?’

 ??  ?? Thin chew line: Officers break their fast at the mosque in Northampto­n, in a photo that provoked criticism from businesses
Thin chew line: Officers break their fast at the mosque in Northampto­n, in a photo that provoked criticism from businesses

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