U.K. Police Search for Their Own on Far-Right Party List

By Simon Veazey
Simon Veazey
Simon Veazey
Freelance Reporter
Simon Veazey is a UK-based journalist who has reported for The Epoch Times since 2006 on various beats, from in-depth coverage of British and European politics to web-based writing on breaking news.
November 19, 2008 Updated: November 19, 2008

A leaked membership list of a controversial far-right party has police forces across the U.K. scouring it for names of their own officers.

Police officers are banned from joining the British National Party (BNP). There have already been consequences for people whose names appear in the list that was leaked on a Web site Sunday night, after what appears to be an internal spat within the highly controversial organization.

A radio DJ, for example, has lost his job after his name was found on the list.

Following the publication of the list of 12,000 members on the Internet, the name of a police officer in Liverpool was brought to the attention of a police watchdog, who indicated that local forces should deal with the issue.

“Policies are clear that membership of the BNP is incompatible with the requirements of the role of a police officer,” said Naseem Malik, IPCC Commissioner for the North West, in a statement.

Legally Registered, and Controversial

The far-right BNP has long struggled to gain what it regards as due political legitimacy, against a tide of critics who label it as a fascist, racist organization that should be shunned from legitimate social and political debate.

Formed in the 1980s, the BNP has a deep-rooted association with violence and racism in the minds of many of the British public. The impression was created in part by the BNP's close connections in the early 1990s with ‘Combat 18’, an organization made up of football hooligans and Nazi skinheads.

With a new leader in 1999, Nick Griffin, the BNP began to adopt a more respectable image, diluting its more racist policies, and gradually gaining local government council seats in small pockets across the country since the millennium.

The British Association of Police Officers bans police officers from joining the BNP, despite the BNP's status as a legally registered political party.

Peter Fahy, Chief Constable for Greater Manchester Police said in a statement, “Such membership would be incompatible with our duty to promote equality under the Race Relations Amendment Act and would damage the confidence of minority communities.”
The Race Relations Amendment Act is an act of Parliament obliging the police by law to “promote equality of opportunity and good relations between persons of different racial groups.”

A BNP spokesperson said that the leaking of the membership list was good publicity for the party, as it not only raised the profile of the party, but also dispelled the myth that the party membership was nothing more than skinheads and hooligans.

Radio DJ Rod Lucus protested his innocence after his employer, TalkSport radio, said it has "no plans to use" Mr. Lucus following the appearance of his name on the BNP membership list.

“I am an investigative radio journalist and am a member of over 20 political parties and pressure groups,” he said on his Web site. “I do this for research, in order to come up with material from my show.”

Simon Veazey
Freelance Reporter
Simon Veazey is a UK-based journalist who has reported for The Epoch Times since 2006 on various beats, from in-depth coverage of British and European politics to web-based writing on breaking news.