Police officer who sparked terror alert with hoax 999 call jailed


A police officer who sparked a nationwide terror alert by making a hoax 999 call to his own force has been jailed for seven years.

Pc Amar Tasaddiq Hussain sent West Midlands Police into "overdrive" after phoning through an anonymous warning that a terrorist with links to Syria was planning to kidnap a Muslim policeman.

Jailing Hussain at Stafford Crown Court, Judge Michael Chambers QC criticised the 29-year-old officer for showing no remorse and pleading not guilty in the face of overwhelming evidence.

A trial which ended earlier this month was told that Hussain and two other Birmingham men hoped the 999 call on December 8 2014 would discredit an official at an Islamic community group they were members of.

Hussain, unemployed Adil Bashir, 26, and 31-year-old tutor Muhammad Ali Sheikh, were all convicted of two counts of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.

Jurors heard that the conspiracy prompted police commanders to put a hostage negotiator on stand-by and order substantial inquiries into the supposed terror plot.

During the 24-hour alert, which only ended with the arrest of an innocent man, armed police units were deployed to the home of an off-duty officer who did not answer an emergency roll-call.

The conspiracy had earlier led to police inquiries in September 2014 into unfounded claims of a forced marriage taking place at an address in Moseley, Birmingham.

Bashir and Sheikh were both given three-year jail sentences for their parts in the conspiracy.

Describing Hussain as "the last person who ought to be serving" with West Midlands Police, the judge said the officer had been the instigator of the offences - with his accomplices playing lesser roles.

The judge told Hussain - who was suspended on full pay after his arrest and faces dismissal at a hearing next month - that he had caused "chaos and anxiety" to his colleagues and "enormous" difficulties for his force.

The judge said: "It's quite clear you abused your knowledge of the 999 system and police procedures for your own ends.

"It is also clear you were prepared to say any lie to avoid your guilt despite what was overwhelming evidence."

Addressing all three conspirators, the judge added: "The three of you plotted to falsely incriminate an innocent man with being involved in serious criminal offences.

"All three of you were members of the West Midlands branch of an international group which is an entirely peaceful and law-abiding organisation.

"You, Hussain, had been thwarted in your ambition to become its head of security.

"The effect of the 999 call was quite devastating both for (the innocent man arrested) and the police.

"At that time the threat level in the United Kingdom for terrorism matters was severe. Sadly we live in an age when such threats and plots are credible."

The innocent party named in the "malicious" tip-off was questioned over two days on suspicion of involvement in terrorism, causing him immense personal anxiety, the judge added.

Assistant Chief Constable Marcus Beale said: "Today's sentencing reflects the severity of what Hussain did. He not only let down West Midlands Police, he has also let down the peaceful, non-political organisation that he was part of.

"The impact of the threat had an unprecedented effect on officers and staff and in turn on their loved ones.

"Never before have we had to instruct officers and staff to call in after their tour of duty to let us know they had returned home safely.

"There is absolutely no place in policing for those who abuse the trust placed in us by the public."