For a senior British police officer advising the Afghan Government on counter-terrorism it may, with hindsight, have been an unfortunate choice of disguise.
Chief Superintendent Colin Terry has been condemned by his own force for dressing up as Usama bin Laden to take part in a Cornish carnival procession.
Terry’s choice of costume has now been referred to the Independent Police Complaints Commission.
The carnival parade took place in the village of Grampound on Saturday, a few days before the seventh anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on the United States.
It was attended by the usual favorites, including a fairy queen, a bunny girl and an Austin Powers look-a-like. Towering above them all was the imposing figure of bin Laden in his turban, a mask, and long Afghan robe.
Terry, who is believed to have attended a 9/11 anniversary service at the World Trade Center in New York in 2006, was unmasked after disclosing his identity to a press photographer covering the carnival.
Instead of shrugging it off as an unfortunate prank, Devon and Cornwall police released a statement condemning Terry.
A spokesman said: “Devon and Cornwall Constabulary takes any incident such as this very seriously, and were Chief Superintendent Terry currently working for the force misconduct proceedings would be considered.
“The matter has been referred to the IPCC for consideration. The decision to participate in the carnival and the choice of costume were both personal decisions by Chief Superintendent Terry himself.
“While we believe that his actions were misguided rather than malicious, they were clearly inappropriate, and we would condemn any such actions by any police officer as unacceptable.”
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office confirmed last night that Terry is currently assigned to the EU’s policing mission in Afghanistan. The unit advises the Afghan Government on anti-terrorism and anti-drugs policy.
An FCO spokesman said: “We are considering the next steps to be taken.”