- Distributor John Menzies passed details of magazine stockists to police
- Police chiefs then told specific forces where magazine was being sold
- Details were intended to ‘provide community reassurance’
- But local officers went to shops and demanded details about customers
- Britain’s anti-terror police chief said it was ‘overzealous and unnecessary’
- Controversial issue featured cartoon of Prophet Mohammed on front cover
Anti-terror units handed local police officers the names of British newsagents who stocked the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in the wake of the Paris attacks.
But the decision by some forces to then visit the outlets and quiz shopkeepers about who bought the publication was ‘overzealous and unnecessary’, Britain’s anti-terror police chief has said.
Sir Peter Fahy, chief constable of Greater Manchester Police (GMP) and national police lead for preventing extremism, said he was now urgently clarifying guidance to all UK forces.
It comes after police were caught asking British newsagents which sold copies of the satirical magazine for details of the customers who bought it.