Prevent Watch

The Taxi Driver

Date: January 2015
Gender: Male
Location: South East England
Case Study NT

NT helped to run a “dawah stall” in which he distributed educational material on Islam. He was requested to attend a meeting at the police station as the police said that his car had potentially been the “victim of cloning” and that he had to come to the police station to give a statement. However, when NT arrived at the police station he described the encounter as a “long discussion” in which they “wanted to get me to sell out”. He was requested to spy on “Muslims, mosques and Islamic institutes” which he refused. A similar meeting took place at a garden centre in his local area.

A few days later, he received the visit from the local PREVENT officer and an officer from South East Counter-Terrorism Unit. They alleged that he had visited websites with terrorist material. NT mentioned that if they had anything against him, they would arrest him.

NT’s house was raided pursuant to section 5 of the Terrorism Act [2006], the preparation for terrorism activities. The allegations were that he intended to travel to Syria and he was financing terrorism.

PREVENT personnel were present during the raid and spoke to NT’s wife. After his arrest, the police notified the local authority. NT, a taxi driver by profession, was then informed that the council had suspended his licence as a taxi driver in order to preserve public safety.

A number of items were taken from NT. This included all his electronic items, his wife’s phone and his son’s tablet. His clothes were also taken; these included his coat, shoes, gloves and a rucksack. Other items confiscated include his toiletries and Islamic CDs. An itemised list was not provided.

NT was released without charge on bail until 15 April 2015 with a number of restrictions. He had to sign in at the police station on a daily basis and did not have the freedom to associate with particular friends.

While this case has a number of worrying aspects about the treatment of NT, a major concern is NT’s loss of employment as a taxi driver. NT’s licence as a taxi driver was suspended to “preserve public safety.” However, NT was never told how he had put the public safety at risk in the first place. The local authority acquiesced to the wishes of the police to suspend NT’s taxi licence even though NT was yet to be convicted of any criminal offence.

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