Wiltshire Police have apologised after asking a newsagent for details of people who had bought an edition of Charlie Hebdo magazine.
After a letter in the Guardian suggested that a newsagent in Corsham had been paid a visit by Wiltshire Police after selling editions of Charlie Hebdo issued following the massacre of 12 members of its staff by Islamist extremists in Paris last month.
The “survivor’s issue” sparked controversy in some quarters for its depiction of the Prophet Muhammad.
Wiltshire Police today issued an apology for taking details of those who had bought the magazine. The force insisted it had only been trying to “enhance public safety”, but also admitted “there was no specific threat nationally and nothing to suggest newsagents in particular would be vulnerable.
A police officer visited a local shop and post office in Corsham to make an assessment of community tensions and, if appropriate, encourage the newsagent's owner to be vigilant.
During this conversation the officer requested information about subscribers to the Charlie Hebdo magazine.
Wiltshire Police would like to apologise to the members of public who may be affected by this. Information relating to this specific incident has been permanently and securely disposed of.
Wiltshire Police are confident that the police officer's intention was purely around enhancing public safety and ensuring that the newsagent was advised appropriately.