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.”
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.