Blair's new neighbours questioned by police at gunpoint - Printable Version
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Blair's new neighbours questioned by police at gunpoint - Shinobi - 07-23-2007 10:54 PM
Furious neighbours of Tony Blair's £3.6million London townhouse are to complain to the Home Office after being quizzed at gunpoint by police outside their homes.
Officers from Scotland Yard's elite Diplomatic Protection Group assigned to guard the former Prime Minister openly carry Heckler & Koch sub-machine guns while on duty outside his home in leafy Connaught Square.
One terrified resident - who has lived in the square for years - was challenged just yards from her front door. Dr Sheila Arora was parking her car outside her flat when an armed officer approached her vehicle.
Alert: Armed police in Connaught Square the week after the terror attempts
(Wow they look so big & mighty!)
Pointing his sub-machine gun at the retired GP, he demanded to know what she was doing and where she was going.
The dramatic incident was recounted by Dr Arora, 72, at last week's Connaught Square Residents' Association meeting.
A neighbour who attended the meeting said: 'Dr Arora told us she was approached by a policeman with his gun pointing at her. He asked her what she was doing and she replied, 'Parking my car.' When she got out, he asked her what the purpose of her visit was and she said, 'I live here.'
'After checking who she was, he let her pass. She said she felt very intimidated by the incident.'
Security: Mr Blair's bulletproof Jaguar outside his home
(Bulletproof you say? I wonder if its the invisible terrorrists after him....)
The Mail on Sunday can reveal that there have been two other similar incidents involving innocent civilians who have been questioned at gunpoint in the square.
Both happened in the aftermath of the attempted terrorist attacks three weeks ago, when the terror alert was at critical and Mr Blair was in residence at his townhouse in the square.
A security guard employed by the residents' association was questioned at gunpoint minutes after arriving for his night shift.
Ahmed Foughlaia has 'policed' the square for more than a year, he was wearing a distinctive yellow fluorescent jacket bearing the word SECURITY and his name had been given to Mr Blair's protection team for liaison purposes.
But he was asked to identify himself at point-blank range when he arrived for his patrol at 9pm on Friday, June 29.
Mr Foughlaia, who is of Albanian descent, said: 'I was getting out of the van when I saw two police officers running towards me, one of them with his gun raised at me. It was very frightening.
'I think they were panicking because it was the day of the car bombs in Central London, three weeks ago. One of them told me they had received a call saying there was an intruder in the communal gated gardens.'
But only a week later the protection officers were back again asking him who he was and checking his van numberplate with the DVLA.
On another occasion a martial-arts instructor who practises kick-boxing with clients in the square's central garden was also approached by armed police. He has worked in the square for more than ten years.
Now the residents' association has branded the incidents 'totally unacceptable' and is to write to the Home Office to complain.
One resident said: 'The police appear to be gun-happy and we feel it is only a matter of time before an innocent person gets shot. This sort of behaviour is totally unacceptable.'
Mr Blair's spokesman declined to comment, while a Scotland Yard spokeswoman said: 'We don't comment on security matters.'
Blair's new neighbours questioned by police at gunpoint - maggot - 07-23-2007 11:34 PM
Haha, Blairs' social skills are revealed. Don't suppose hes going to invited over to any tupperware parties or barbecues any time soon.