Casualties of the British National Party so far
Probe into officer on BNP list
Merseyside police said yesterday it had ordered an urgent investigation into one of its police officers whose name appeared on a leaked membership list of the far-right British National party.
"We are very clear, membership of the BNP is totally incompatible with the duties and values of the police service. We will not accept a police officer or police staff being a member," it said.
The BNP, whose members were yesterday inundated with abusive phone calls, said it would take court action over the publication of the list on a website earlier this week.
The list, which the party says is a year old, contains contact details of almost 13,000 people, many with their professions, qualifications and hobbies such as "bell ringing" and "medieval armour". Some have since denied membership of the organisation.
Police and prison officers are banned from membership of the BNP. One prison warder on the list has told his governor and police he does not belong to the organisation. However, the Prison Service indicated it would investigate any such claim because it had a "zero tolerance policy" on anyone who held racist views.
The Association of Chief Police Officers said all 43 constabularies were examining the list to see whether any of their serving officers were on it.
Twelve BNP members arrested for distributing racist material
Twelve British National Party (BNP) members have been arrested on suspicion of distributing racist material in Liverpool city centre.
Merseyside Police said the men were held at about 1250 GMT after leaflets were distributed in the Whitechapel area of the city.
Roy Goodwin, organiser of the Blackpool and Oldham BNP branches, confirmed 12 party members were arrested.
He said the contents of the leaflets had been "carefully vetted".
The 12 men were later released on bail to appear at a police station early in the New Year.
Police said those arrested were a 29-year-old and a 51-year-old from the south Liverpool area; a 64-year-old from the Wirral; a 19-year-old; a 46-year-old and a 41-year-old from north Liverpool; a 61-year-old and a 42-year-old from Knowsley; a 70-year-old; a 44-year-old; and a 29-year-old and a 48-year-old from St Helens.
Mr Goodwin said he understood 12 of his members had been arrested "distributing official party leaflets in Merseyside".
He added: "There was nothing unlawful in the leaflets - all the contents of the leaflets had been carefully vetted, or they would not have gone out."
Merseyside Police Assistant Chief Constable Colin Matthews said: "Merseyside Police condemns racism in all of its forms and will take prompt action to support all of our communities.
"Merseyside Police today arrested 12 people on suspicion of distribution of racist material.
"This follows the distribution of leaflets in Liverpool city centre, which officers believe to contain racist content.
"Racist literature is not welcome on the streets of Merseyside in any circumstances."