Violent unrest in Leicester forces local authorities and community leaders into emergency meeting

An emergency meeting to discuss ongoing violent unrest between police and faith communities in Leicester took place yesterday evening (6 September). It saw police dispersal powers come into force overnight.

Speaking to ITV Central yesterday, Leicester's mayor, Peter Soulsby appealed for calm and said: "Enjoy the cricket, enjoy if your team wins, but don't use that as an excuse or opportunity for stirring up things that frankly don't belong in our city of Leicester".

It comes after a violent incident on 28 August was caught on camera and involved large groups of people chanting racist comments. It resulted in the assault of a Leicestershire Police officer.

Tensions have been building between Hindus and Muslims since the Pakistan versus India cricket match on Sunday last week. It resulted in a further disorder this week which police are currently investigating.

Mobile phone footage of the incident last month showed a fight break out in Shaftesbury Avenue, off Melton Road.

A man's T-shirt was ripped off as a number of men or youths were seen throwing punches at him and others. Offensive anti-Pakistan chants could also be heard.

In the days following the incident, police organised special patrols in the area. Now, police are working alongside community leaders and local authorities to address the unrest.

Chief Superintendent Adam Slonecki, from Leicestershire Police, authorised temporary measures under Sections 34 and 35 of the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act.

Notices could be issued for a period of up to 48 hours and anyone found breaching a notice could be found liable and arrested.

The order allowed officers to take anyone under the age of 16 to their home between 8 o'clock last night and 6 o'clock this morning.

The powers covered the areas of East Leicester including Belgrave, Rushey Mead and Spinney.

Anyone under the age of 16 could be returned home by police. Credit: Leicestershire Police
The order was in place from 8pm on Tuesday until 6am on Wednesday. Credit: Leicestershire Police

Suleman Nagdi, spokesman for the Federation of Muslim Organisations, said last night's meeting was an opportunity "to inform people what's going on and give reassurances to the community that they [police] are taking things seriously."Speaking before the meeting he said: "I find it very worrying things like this should happen in a city like Leicester where we're used to such good relations. Sports should bring people together. We need to call for calm, tolerance and peace."

"I've seen reports and videos of more attacks. Some could be old incidents but there are some that have been verified."

It's not only police and faith leaders who are concerned but members of the public too.

In one tweet, a member of the public complained about more violence taking place, including an attack yesterday. He said: "Woke up to find out about another attack that took place last night in Leicester. Take action before it escalates."

Police say they have reassured the public and are "taking this really, really seriously."

In a YouTube video, CC Rob Nixon from Leicestershire Police said: "We've identified five people linked to the incident on Sunday, August 28 and we're just in the process of putting names to those individuals. Then we'll be looking to bring them in and put that evidence to them."

"We've got a lot of investigations going on around the incident that took place on Bridge Road - and again let me just reassure you, the rumours are that we are not taking that seriously."

"Let me tell you, my officers and staff are currently linked in with both the victim and the victim's family. There are a lot of investigation teams that are collecting CCTV and different evidence and we will be following that up."

"This evening, there are 15 officers and staff that are engaged in doing house-to-house inquiries in and around the Cottesmore area, there are 18 detectives following up on bits of information and securing evidence."

"Across all three of those separate incidents we've got one of our most experienced and time-served detectives pulling it all together. So please, you're hearing it direct from me, we are taking this really, really seriously."

Last night, in addition to the dispersal order, Leicestershire Police's Chief Superintendent Slonecki allowed officers to stop and search anyone in a specific area without needing to have reasonable grounds, under Section 60 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act.

The powers were also in place from 8pm last night until 6am this morning.

The order covered an area of East Leicester.

Officers could stop and search anyone in the specified area without needing to have reasonable grounds. Credit: Leicestershire Police