Armley Polish man attacked: “We won’t tolerate race hate”, say police

12 September 2016

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A police chief has attempted to reassure Polish residents in West Leeds that race hate will not be tolerated.

His comments come after a 28-year-old Polish man was seriously injured when he was kicked and punched by a group of up to 20 youths in Alliance Street, Armley, at about 9.35pm on Friday, September 9.

The victim, who is still receiving treatment in hospital, has told police the group were male, aged 16 to 18, and were wearing hooded tops.

Chief Superintendent Paul Money, Leeds District Commander, said:

“I want to reassure people, particularly the local Polish community, that we will not tolerate hate incidents of this nature and will do everything we can to ensure the people responsible are brought to justice.

“Detectives from Leeds District CID are carrying out extensive enquiries into this incident and are checking CCTV in the area and speaking to witnesses. The victim is being supported by specialist officers.”

Armley Town Street plan

Alcohol problems: Armley Town Street

Ch Supt Money appealed for witnesses to come forward following the attack, which was reported yesterday by The Dispatch. He said:

“It is vital that we hear from anyone who witnessed any part of this incident or who has any information that could assist us in tracing the people responsible.

“Armley is an area with a strong sense of community across a population from a range of ethnicities and nationalities and I know that people living there will be as shocked and appalled as we are at this incident.

“I appreciate this attack will have understandably caused heightened concerns among eastern European communities but we are treating it as an isolated incident and not as an indicator of any ongoing hate issue in the area.

“Officers from the local neighbourhood policing team increased their patrols in the area in response to this incident and will be maintaining and increased presence to reassure people. We will also continue to keep local councillors and other community representatives updated.”

Anyone who witnessed the incident or who has any information that could help the investigation is asked to contact DC Danny Wilkinson via 101, quoting crime number 13160390459, or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Last September a mural on The Armley Junktion Cafe saying ‘refugees welcome’ was defaced.

In June, The Dispatch reported how a Polish shopkeeper in Bramley District Centre had been subjected to racist abuse. Two people were arrested over the incident.




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Stephen McBarron says:

Chief Superintendent Paul Money says ‘we will not tolerate hate incidents’ then goes on to state ‘an isolated incident’? I have a screenshot of the following post on the Yorkshire Evening Post website and I quote “people are sick of all the poles, they are rude horrible people, they will have been shooting there horrible polish gobs off, good on the gang hope they do a few more, only good poles are dead ones” posted by ‘I hate Polish’ at 7.21pm 12th September and still up at 5.30am 13th September. That post is incitement to racial hatred. Are the police investigating? Please don’t tell me to report this to the website moderator – it isn’t a matter for moderation it’s a serious crime. Evening Post should have removed that post and called the police in themselves – why haven’t they? West Leeds Councillors – have you read the post and alerted the police – if not why not?

There are several other posts on that article – mostly critical of the Polish community and or blaming the victims of this crime so I think we can gauge the general mood. Why then do the police have to spin this as an isolated incident? There is a hate crime epidemic going on at the moment. A friend of mine who works as a teacher has reported incidents involving a couple regularly on a local bus spouting racism like attendees at a BNP rally – this on several mornings in recent weeks yet nobody has challenged them.

I trust the authorities will take steps to identify the person who posted the hate speech I’ve outlined above – perhaps West Leeds Dispatch will alert them and follow the case through the legal system? I await the outcome with interest!

Stephen McBarron
Co-Optee Inner Area Community Committee