SHEFFIELD MP and former Home Secretary David Blunkett is demanding an apology to the people of Sheffield for an “unwarranted slur” on the city by Metropolitan Police officers.
He took exception to the London officers making derogatory remarks in joking with their counterparts in the FBI – part of a conference call leaked by hackers – about a conference on cyber-crime in the city.
One UK officer described Sheffield as a “khazi” and “not exactly a jewel in England’s crown”.
Mr Blunkett, who chairs the not-for-profit International Cyber Security Protection Alliance, said an “urgent explanation” was needed for the “lax” security between the agencies and the steps that were being taken to put things right.
But he also took up the cudgels on behalf of his home city. “I separately believe that those involved should offer an apology to the British people for putting such sensitive discussion at risk, but also to the people of Sheffield for the gratuitous and completely unwarranted slur on Britain’s fourth largest city.
“Those making such remarks against Sheffield have no idea that the city is in fact a ‘jewel’, with the largest number of trees of any city in Europe, more greenery than any other urban area and surrounded by the most wonderful countryside including the Peak National Park which is the second most visited protected National Park area in the world.
“Clearly, as well as not knowing what they are doing in terms of security, those holding conversations do not know anything about the north of England either!”
The recording of a telephone conversation between the Met’s central e-crime unit and the FBI – leaked by the hacking network Anonymous – is not likely to go down well, either, with the new Metropolitan Commissioner, Bernard Hogan-Howe, who is from Sheffield.
It also suggests some parts of the Met’s knowledge is somewhat limited. “Sheffield University is quite big, there’s a huge shopping centre, I think that’s about it.”
There is also a reference to “the famous thing in Sheffield, a bullring?” Could he mean the old Birmingham shopping centre?