Luton Protest - More Could Follow

30 May 2012, 18:31

Community and religious leaders in Luton are meeting for a second time after Tuesday night's protests outside a police station in Luton.

Members of the Sikh community held a sit-down protest outside the Buxton Road police station following allegations that a young woman was sexually assaulted.

Bedfordshire Police told Heart "hundreds of demonstrators congregated outside Buxton Road police station last night (Tuesday 29th May) to air their concerns about Monday's alleged attack on a Sikh woman.  A number of officers were on the scene attempting to resolve the situation with community leaders. One man has arrested in connection with the allegations and inquiries continue."

The President of Luton Gurdwara in Dallow Road, Luton earlier told Heart: "We are meeting with other members of the community today to discuss what happened last night - we understand that someone has been arrested over allegations that a member of our community has been attacked."

When asked if they are likely to be more protests today, Heart was told: "We are not looking for any further protests to take place - we do not wish for any more disruption."

B.Singh also spoke to Heart following the meeting and said he wants to see "Police investigate more, research more and have a liason officer directly - with the community so they can react with a bit more immediacy. You know prevention is a better measure than reaction".

During late Wednesday, the man arrested appeared before Luton Magistrates and we're due to hear what will happen to him next.

Bedfordshire Police spoke to Heart and said they are already proactively working in the communities to see whether allegations of religious attacks have been or have threatened to take place - something some members of the Sikh community have been concerned with.

Chief Superintendent Mike Colbourne told Heart: "We have actively gone out with police officers and staff from other agencies to have that dialogue with members of various communities to find out what's happening what's going on."

CS Colbourne added: "I'm not convinced there's any bigger issue here in Luton than in any other similar sized town or diverse community populations in the country. We're talking to the different faith communities tonight - especially as we want to hear from the Sikh and Muslim communities to see if there is a problem with different expectations between the various religions and communities".