Temporary Chief Constable Rob Nixon writes an open letter to communities in East Leicester in light of the recent tensions between Hindus and Muslims.
To our communities in East Leicester,
During nearly 30 years of policing I have known Leicester to be a harmonious place. In recent weeks some people have tried to break that harmony.
The vast majority of people in our communities want our city to be peaceful, tolerant and safe. These voices and their will is strong in our proudly diverse city.
A small number have tried to cause division, have committed crimes, and seek disorder. Local people have been afraid. My officers and staff have taken robust action in recent weeks to deal with those people. That work continues.
In this letter I want to be absolutely clear on three points. Because I believe what matters to the majority in our city is an end to tensions and that we find solutions locally together.
Firstly, two points of clarification. On Saturday 17 September, I am making clear that police did not support an unplanned protest in East Leicester. There was no direct intelligence relating to the volume of people who were going to mobilise early on Saturday. My officers were dispatched in order to try to engage and seek co-operation. They were confronted by in excess of 300 people and there were eight officers at the time. They did the best they could in the circumstances by staying with them until more officers could arrive. That is what videos on social media show.
Two arrests were made later. Separately, earlier in the day, officers had dealt with a small group who had posted on social media that they planned to come to Leicester from Birmingham. Protests need advance notification and none was given.
There is also video on social media of a flag being pulled down outside a religious building on Melton Road, Leicester, on Saturday. We are investigating this. My officers were dealing with a large crowd directly in front of them at the time and were not able to reach the person on the building.
Any incident involving a place of worship is very important. We continue to appeal for information related to this incident and all other matters during the disorder.
Secondly, I want to explain how investigations will proceed. We have made 47 arrests at this time connected to the disorder. More will be made. Some cases will have sufficient evidence to charge a person quickly because of the type of crime and how the arrest took place. For example, someone is found carrying a weapon.
Different crimes need more investigation and take time. When a person is charged with an offence, their name will be made public. This is normal in England and Wales and is important to the transparency of the court system. The timings of any release of names will therefore vary.
We police without fear or favour in Leicestershire. All are equal before the law. Our investigations into the disorder continue at scale and with rigour. To protect our communities we will continue to gather the facts for the courts to review.
Thirdly, I renew our commitment to work with our local communities, Leicester City Council and local organisations to restore harmony in East Leicester.
Thank you for your support.
Temporary Chief Constable Rob Nixon