UK top anti-terror cop quits over terror blunder

April 9th, 2009 - 4:27 pm ICT by ANI  

Gordon Brown London, Apr.9 (ANI): Britain’s most senior anti-terrorist policeman, Bob Quick, has resigned after making a major security blunder that caused an operation against a suspected al-Qaeda cell to be brought forward.

Quick tendered his resignation to London Mayor Boris Johnson, who is also the chairman of the Metropolitan Police Authority, after admitting that he “could have compromised a major counter terrorism operation”.

According to The Telegraph, Quick was photographed entering Downing Street carrying a secret briefing note on which details of the undercover operation - codenamed Pathway - could be seen.

The briefing note showed details of the locations and manner of the intended arrests by “dynamic entry - firearms”. It also showed where the suspects would have been held and the names of the six senior officers in charge of the operation.

Shortly after lunchtime, newspapers and broadcasters were contacted by the D-Notice Committee in an attempt to prevent the picture being published, though Mr Quick’s actions had caused such alarm the committee was initially able to tell editors only that they “might be in possession” of a photograph that compromised national security, without saying what it was.

The blunder by Quick may have jeopardised the case.Johnson told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that he did not pressure Quick to quit, and said that the counter terrorism head decided to leave of his own volition.

“In the end Bob Quick decided it was the best thing to do. It’s matter of sadness and he had a very very distinguished career in counter terrorism. I want to stress there was no effort to get him out,” Johnson said.

The resignation came as British Police arrested 12 people, including 10 Pakistanis, on the suspicion of them having links with an al Qaeda’s terror network in northwest England.

The suspects were held in daylight raids in Manchester, Liverpool and Clitheroe, Lancashire.

Sources said that the suspects had been under surveillance by MI5 for several weeks, and officers had not been due to move in on their targets until the early hours of this morning.

Eyewitnesses said two students in their early 20s, thought to be of Pakistani origin, were tasered then pinned to the floor.

The young men, one bearded and one clean-shaven, were taken away for questioning.

The raids had to be brought forward after the Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner, Bob Quick, unwittingly displayed a document outlining the plans as he arrived to brief Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Home Secretary Jacqui Smith at 10 Downing Street.

The arrests came as 45,000 football fans converged on Anfield for Liverpool’s Champions League quarter-final clash with Chelsea.

Quick began the 168,000-pound-a-year job just over a year ago. Assistant Commissioner John Yates will replace him, becoming the third anti-terrorism chief in three years.

The departure of Quick has left officers at Scotland Yard in a state of shock. (ANI)

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