George Galloway’s former secretary has been arrested, along with a Metropolitan police officer, on suspicion of data protection offences.
Afiz Khan, an officer with the Met’s SO15 anti-terrorism branch, was arrested on Wednesday, along with Aisha Ali-Khan, who until recently worked as a PA for the Respect MP for Bradford West.
Ali-Khan, a mother-of-one from Bradford, was dramatically suspended by Galloway in October when he publicly accused her of being a Met police “agent” running an undercover operation from his constituency office in West Yorkshire. He demanded an investigation by the home secretary, Theresa May, into what he called a “dirty tricks” campaign orchestrated by Khan.
The arrests are unrelated to these allegations, which are the subject of an ongoing investigation.
Police are also still trying to ascertain how Galloway got hold of private emails between Ali-Khan and Khan, which he then showed to journalists as “incontrovertible evidence” that there was a plot against him. Ali-Khan insists her Hotmail address was hacked and accuses Galloway of sanctioning the hacking: a charge Galloway has always denied.
Ali-Khan told the Guardian in October that Khan was her husband, producing the Muslim “nikah” marriage certificate to prove the two wed in 2009. She has always claimed the emails merely showed a husband counselling his wife in how to deal with bullying and misogyny in Respect’s Bradford office.
Both Khan and Ali-Khan have been bailed to return pending further inquiries to a date in early March 2013.
He is suspected of misusing Met police databases and abusing his position as a police officer. He has been on “restricted duties” since Galloway made his original allegations in October. His status is being reconsidered in light of the arrest.
A Metropolitan police spokesman said Thursday: “A detective inspector from Specialist Operations was arrested this morning at his home address in Watford. He has been arrested on suspicion of misconduct in a public office and data protection offences.
“A woman has been arrested (not an Metropolitan police service employee) in connection with the DPS [Directorate of Professional Standards] investigation at her home address in Bradford. She has been arrested on suspicion of data protection offences.
“The arrests come as a result of an investigation by the DPS into a complaint from a member of the public, with regard to the actions of an officer based within specialist operations. At this time the arrests are not related to allegations made by the complainant but as a result of information that has been identified as part of the ongoing investigation.
“A further referral will be made to the IPCC [Independent Police Complaints Commission] in relation to the matter for which the arrests have been made.”
Galloway said: “I understand inquiries are still ongoing so for that reason I cannot comment.”
Ali-Khan faces a disciplinary hearing next Monday about the reasons for her suspension.