1:22pm Thursday 21st February 2013
Nobody in the bomb plotters' own community tipped the police off with their concerns, despite finding out they were sending young men to terror training camps in Pakistan.
At no point during the 18-month investigation by the West Midlands counter-terrorism unit did anyone in Birmingham's Muslim community inform on the behaviour of Irfan Naseer, Irfan Khalid and Ashik Ali, raising questions over the health of relations between officers and community leaders.
This was despite the fact the families of four other young men recruited from Sparkhill all intervened to bring them back home the moment they found out the real reasons for them travelling to Pakistan.
Detective Inspector Adam Gough, senior investigating officer, said the extended families of the four men had "become aware" of why they went to Pakistan but, in any case, "did not tell us".
Ishaaq Hussain, Shahid Khan, Khobaib Hussain and Naweed Ali were told to tell loved ones they were studying at madrassas if asked.
Police and security services were aware the four were travelling but decided against stopping them to preserve the surveillance operation and because evidence-gathering was in the early stages.
According to detectives, none of the men received any terror training as they left the camps after a day.
Mr Gough said: "We know pressure was applied to them to come back.
"Shahid Khan virtually ran home. Three of the four came back almost immediately, while the fourth stayed with his family in Pakistan.
"We know that they did reach a training camp.
"But it is a success story in that the families did bring those people back and it shows the vast majority of the community abhor terrorism in the same way we do."
Community engagement - under what the police call the Prevent programme - is supposed to form a cornerstone of the UK counter-terrorism policing strategy.
Prevent aims to respond "to the ideological challenge of terrorism" by "developing partnerships" with communities, thereby preventing people being "drawn into terrorism".
Assistant Chief Constable Marcus Beale, who is responsible for counter-terrorism at West Midlands Police, said: "The families were trying to do their best to get them back and stop them getting into trouble, rather than get in touch with us.
"I agree it would have been really good if more could have been shared with us, and we could have dealt with it in a different way.
"In terms of community engagement, would I like them to come forward more? Yes, I would.
"Do I think they (the Muslim community) were being disruptive - no, I do not."
Mr Beale also said he believed the two local charitable organisations on whose behalf the three men had masqueraded to raise money "were duped, rather than being complicit".
He added: "We want to help make sure they (the charities) are not quite so easily duped in the future."
Some of that money scammed from charities was actually gambled away by another member of the group, Rahin Ahmed, who was given the task of playing the financial markets to try to increase the group's cash reserves.
He previously admitted engaging in conduct in preparation of acts of terror, encouraging acts of terror, collecting money for terrorism and assisting other to travel for training in terrorism.
On one occasion, Ahmed - an unemployed law graduate who was a community worker with one of the charities - lost £3,000 when he left his computer screen for five minutes to boil a kettle.
He tried to recover some of his losses, but in total lost £9,000 of the £14,500 invested.
There was talk in the group of acquiring a shop, as a front for a bomb factory at the back of the premises, but Ahmed lost too much money and the idea had to be dropped.
Mr Beale said the police do not know how much money the group collected.
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