British police are under fire for having let a man cloaked in the flag of the Islamic State (ISIS) terrorist organization walk with impunity near the UK Houses of Parliament in London, just a week after ISIS massacred British tourists in Tunisia.
The man was photographed walking near Big Ben with a massive ISIS flag draped on his back with a small girl sitting on his shoulders waving a smaller ISIS flag. The picture was posted on Twitter on Sunday.
The timing of the provocative flag waving is highly suspect. Just a week ago an ISIS gunman murdered 38 tourists, including 30 Brits, on a beach in Sousse, Tunisia.
And this week marks the anniversary of the 7/7 terror attacks; on July 7, 2005, British Islamist terrorists set off four bombs in London during rush hour, murdering 52 people and wounded over 700.
A statement by the Metropolitan police said that the man was seen and spoken to by officers but that his actions were "lawful," reports the British Guardian.
"The man was spoken to by officers, with consideration given to relevant legislation, particularly the Public Order Act. The decision was taken by officers at the time that the man was acting within the law. He was not arrested," read the statement.
The Public Order Act rules that a person has violated that law if they display "any writing, sign or other visible representation which is threatening, abusive or insulting within the hearing or sight of a person likely to be caused harassment, alarm or distress thereby."
However, the police statement claimed that "wearing, carrying or displaying of an emblem or flag, by itself, is not an offence unless the way in which, or the circumstance in which, the emblem is worn, carried or displayed is such as to cause reasonable suspicion that the person is a supporter or member of a proscribed organisation."
“While support of and membership of ISIS is unlawful it is not a criminal offence to advocate the creation of an independent state," concluded the police statement, apparently giving credence to those supporting ISIS's establishment of a "caliphate" terror state.
A spokesperson for the Home Office disagreed with the police move, saying, "ISIS is a prescribed group. Showing signs you are a supporter of that group is an offence." Speaking about the incident, he said, "it was an operational decision and we cannot comment on individual cases."
The police inaction led to an outpouring of criticism on social media from concerned citizens.
The threat of ISIS has also been warned against by former Scotland Yard terror chief Peter Clarke, who recently said, "at the moment we are arresting one person for terror-related crimes every day. That's the highest rate at any point in 15 years, apart from the immediate aftermath of 9/11 and 7/7. There are 120 people awaiting trial as we speak."
Trying to play down the threat, Clarke added, "every year since 7/7, massive plots to commit terrorist acts have been thwarted."