logo Burngreave Messenger Issue 30 - April 2003

Drugs raid on community activist
By Andrew Green

The home of Matloub Husayn Ali Khan was raided by seven officers of the South Yorkshire Police drug squad on 24th February at about 12.30pm. Detective Constable Carl Wilkinson and four other officers entered and searched the Firshill Road house.

More strip searches in Burngreave
Matloub’s wife was strip searched and prevented from witnessing the search of the house. Matloub returned home while the raid was in progress.

Nothing incriminating was found and no one was arrested. Following protests by concerned friends of the family, DC Neil Marsh phoned to apologise.

In the April 2001 Messenger, we reported on raids on the homes of innocent members of the African-Caribbean community, in which people were unnecessarily humiliated by strip searches. We hoped that following our exposure of these provocative police tactics, there would be no more raids based on poor information and no more illegal strip searches.

An illegal strip search?
A strip search is only permitted if the police have reason to suspect that a person is concealing weapons or evidence. The police had no reason in this case. They had no reason at all to believe that Matloub’s house might contain drugs.

Matloub is well known in the local Muslim community and generally in Burngreave. A contributor to the Messenger, he actively opposes the use of drugs. He told the Messenger that his complaints to the police about drug dealing in the street appear to have been ignored.

According to the police Code of Practice (B, 2.1 & 2.3), before they apply for a search warrant, the police:

‘...must take reasonable steps to check that the information is recent, accurate and has not been provided maliciously or irresponsibly… The officer shall also make reasonable enquires to establish what, if anything, is known about the likely occupier of the premises…’

The police already know Matloub, because, as a volunteer ‘appropriate adult’, he attends local police stations to facilitate interviews with juveniles and vulnerable adults who have been arrested.

People in Burngreave are worried that this case heralds another outbreak of humiliating raids targeted on innocent people. We have heard that other raids have taken place.

Suspicions are being voiced that Matloub was targeted because he is active in the community, and particularly in the Muslim community.


Matloub Husayn Ali Khan.