London, July 1 (ANI): British TaxPayers Alliance, a campaign group, is outraged over the move to issue a compass to all Muslims detained in cells by the police so that they can face Mecca while praying.
To make sure they face the holy site, the Norfolk police force has already painted the ceiling of some cells to point them in the right direction. Chief Inspector Roger Wiltshire, head of custody services, said either a ceiling compass would be painted or hand-held compasses would be issued to detainees.
The move was attacked on Tuesday by Matthew Elliott of campaign group the TaxPayers' Alliance.
He said: "These people may be criminals and should be treated as such. The fact that law-abiding taxpayers are having to pay for these compasses, and that staff are having to waste time carrying out risk assessments, is ludicrous."
"Behaviour like this leaves right-minded people questioning the priorities of the police," he added. The compass plan was put forward by Norfolk police authority's custody visitors' committee.
It follows a pilot scheme at Bethel Street police station in Norwich that police said had proved to be successful.
Compasses were painted on cell ceilings to assist Muslims with prayers. King's Lynn is next in line for the treatment, the Daily Express reports.
Inspector Colin Williamson, custody officer for King's Lynn, said the force had a responsibility to meet the religious needs of everyone it takes into custody.
He said: "We have responsibilities to ensure that everyone detained has their specific needs met whether they are unable to read, visually impaired or a vulnerable young person."
"Each person taken into custody is asked if they have any particular religious or dietary requirements.
We will have the compasses available to Muslims so that they may know the direction of Mecca."Custody staff facilitate any reasonable request in respect of religious considerations." (ANI)