by Rhys Everquill, Managing Editor
The unprecedented unrest between groups of Hindu and Muslim men between August and September last year dashed Leicester's reputation for community cohesion.
Leicester City Council announced an inquiry in October 2022. But it was stalled when the Hindu community refused to participate after the lead, Dr Chris Allen – Associate Professor in Hate Studies at the University of Leicester – was accused of being too biased.
After the unrest, Leicestershire Police led a significant investigation called Operation Energy, which saw a large amount of evidence reviewed and scrutinised. Chief Constable Rob Nixon said: "Over the last year, we have worked hard to engage with local communities to listen to their concerns and to closely monitor tensions".
The government recently announced they would be conducting their own review of why the events happened, chaired by Lord Austin, former Minister for Housing and Planning and former Minister for the West Midlands. Lord Austin has come under fire for his "divisive record" and "lack of legal background".
Leicestershire Police have since commissioned an internal review, which will be shared with the government "at the appropriate time", according to a press release on their website. They will also share it with the city council, local community, and faith groups.
In response to the unrest, the police have:
- Appointed a Chief Superintendent for the city of Leicester
- Added additional resources to East Leicester's local Neighbourhood Team on late shifts
- Ensured that officers working in East Leicester were briefed concerning cultural sensitives, religious festivals, and prayer times
- Offered religious leaders and local councillors the opportunity to carry out joint patrols with officers, including with senior police officers
- Installed additional CCTV based on crime patterns and data from the Violence Reduction Network.
32 people were found guilty of offences ranging from possession of weapons to threats to kill.
Sentences included ten months imprisonment, fines, electronic tag curfew, and unpaid community work, among others.