- In January 2002, Bob and a Special Branch colleague, set up the Muslim Contact Unit (MCU), with the purpose of establishing partnerships with Muslim community leaders to help tackle the spread of al-Qa'ida influence in London. Previously, Bob worked continuously as a Special Branch specialist counter-terrorist / counter-extremist intelligence officer from 1980, which involved dealing with all forms of violent political threats to the UK, from Irish republican to the many strands of International terrorism.
- Bob Lambert is at the liberal end of the Special Branch, in its eight person Muslim Contact Unit. He promotes the idea of partnership working with muslim community organisations. He explicitly counterposes this to repressive policing and attacking the muslim commumity in politics, the press such as the assault unleashed by Jack Straw’s remarks about the veil or the ‘terror experts’ who suggest that universities are a hotbed of muslim ‘radicalisation’.
- This means he is seen by some in government and the press – including some ‘left’ journalists such as those supporting the Euston Manifesto – as an appeaser of radical Islam. Lambert noted that he wasn’t bothered by the Chatham House rule since he had previously been the victim [of] such rules when the existence of his unit was disclosed – he said – by a leak from the Foreign Office to the press.
On the Irish Troubles
Lambert has cited experience from the Northern Ireland conflict in support of his approach to the war on terror.
- The MCU has taken a leaf from the book of former head of the Anti-Terrorist Branch, George Churchill-Coleman in challenging conventional counter terrorism thinking by highlighting the danger of unintentionally increasing support for terrorism by recourse to extra-judicial powers in tackling it. Internment in Northern Ireland, he recalls, was immediately followed by a substantial increase in violence, just as the government's unbending approach to Bobby Sands and fellow hunger strikers gave the IRA its biggest ever recruitment boost. 
- One man who thinks that's not just bad for community relations but actually a threat to Britain's security, is Detective Inspector Bob Lambert, who retired six weeks ago as head of the Metropolitan police special branch's Muslim Contact Unit. With more than a quarter century at the sharp end of counter-terrorism operations, Lambert is scarcely a bleeding-heart liberal. But he has been unable to speak out publicly until now and is deeply frustrated by the Qaradawi ban. "Qaradawi is clearly useful in countering al-Qaida propaganda", Lambert told me this week. "He is held in high esteem: how can we think meaningfully about enlisting credible Muslim community support against al-Qaida if we're not prepared to engage constructively with the likes of Qaradawi?"
Lambert's approach has been heavily criticised by Neoconservatives.
David T of the Harry's Place blog has charged that 'Lambert's policy is premised upon a fundamental error. The Muslim Brotherhood and Jamaat-e-Islami share the same "clash of civilisations" analysis as Al Qaeda.'
Hugh Fitzgerald of the New English Review has said that Lambert "does seem to be tailor-made as a figure of fun, the exemplar of all that is wrong, in some quarters, with those who have allowed themselves to be led by the nose, or perhaps are simply too stupid, all by themselves, to grasp the meaning, and full menace, and meretriciousness, of Islam." 
Lambert has defended the Muslim Contact Unit against such criticisms:
- Dean Godson expresses this concern eloquently when he suggests the MCU has worked so closely with its chosen Islamist partners as to be suffering from “ideological Stockholm syndrome” (Godson 2006a). In being labeled an “appeaser of extremists” by powerful lobbyists such as Godson, the MCU suffered the same stigmatization that awaited any public servant who offered partnership to any but the most quiescent Muslim community groups in the UK during the first six years of the war on terror (Godson 2006b, 2007; Gove 2006a, 2006b; Phillips 2006). 
- Arches Magazine, The Cordoba Foundation, January-February 2006, p6.
- Terrorism studies' and the war on dissent, by David Miller, Spinwatch, 7 November 2006.
- Reflections on Counter-Terrorism Partnerships in Britain, by Bob Lambert, Arches Magazine, the Cordoba Foundation, January-February 2007, p6.
- We need to listen to the man from special branch, by Seamus Milne, The Guardian, 14 February 2008.
- Harry's Place: Bob Lambert, 14 February 2008, accessed 26 February 2008
- Bob Lambert, Lambert Of The Yard, by Hugh Fitzgerald, The Inconoclast, New English Review, 18 February 2008
- Empowering Salafis and Islamists Against Al-Qaeda: A London Counterterrorism Case Study, by Robert Lambert, PS: Political Science & Politics, Volume 41, Issue 01, January 2008, pp 33.