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Group demanding public inquiry into Operation Ribbon
A GROUP demanding a public inquiry into the police’s handling of Operation Ribbon claims it is "open season on Pakistanis".
Justice4Paps - a group launched in 2008 following the death of Habib Ullah in police custody - said the accused men and their families have been "living a nightmare".
It called Superintendent Gilbert Houalla’s defence of Ribbon "hysterical" and believes a public inquiry is required as the group has concerns about how the men, all of Asian origin, were treated.
The group says young Pakistanis are attacked because of their identity, faith and the perception created by high profile sex abuse cases involving Asian men.
Seven men were exonerated by jurors and three others partially cleared of abusing a young girl for nearly five years in July. The Crown Prosecution Service decided against a retrial for the outstanding offences.
Zia Ullah said: "For the accused young men and the young woman at the centre of this case, this has been a living nightmare.
"We have real concerns about how they were treated - it just seems that it is open season on Pakistanis and a real failure of duty of care on the part of agencies and the police in preventing all this happening.
"Supt Houalla’s frankly hysterical and defensive approach is not conducive to a police force that needs to be capable from learning from mistakes and moving forward.
"Justice4Paps is working with family members on the ground, as well as other concerned parties, and we feel there is genuine need for a public inquiry to interrogate the processes that led to this failed operation."
Supt Houalla declined to comment but defended Operation Ribbon last week following criticism from Justice4Paps.
He refused to apologise to the accused for ‘doing his job’ and said he has never revealed the ethnicity of any victim in any crime.
Supt Houalla said: "What relevance is the victim’s ethnicity to the offence? You only have to open the newspapers to see who is in court for alleged sex offences, you will find they come in all colours and ages."
Wycombe’s top cop claimed he had no knowledge that a documentary about stop and search would be aired the night before the raids and added that he had no regrets about the manner in which Ribbon was handled.
He also suggested Justice4Paps may have hijacked the Ribbon case for its own campaign. He said: "They may have ridden the wrong horse."
Justice4Paps will hold a public meeting to discuss the Ribbon case at the Arts4Everyone Arts Centre in High Wycombe on October 9 at 6pm.
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