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The Leicester Disorders Review Board is calling for evidence

The panel seeks to understand the events, the reasons behind them and explore strategies to avoid similar incidents in the future

Lord Ian Austin (Photo: UK Parliament)

By: Pramod Thomas

A call for evidence was launched on Tuesday (7) as part of an investigation into the 2022 civil unrest in Leicester.

Led by former Labor MP and minister Lord Ian Austin, the independent Leicester review commission is seeking to understand the events, the reasons behind them and explore strategies to avoid similar incidents in the future, media reports said.

The request for evidence is aimed at “gathering testimonies and perspectives” from people involved and affected by the events.

The panel reached out to residents, elected officials, as well as community and volunteer organizations as part of the process, BBC reported.

She added that the responses will shape the review’s findings and provide recommendations for both the city and government, which are expected to be released later this year.

“We want to support Leicester as they try to tackle their challenges, build on their strengths and work through the difficult events that have taken place in 2022. We want to hear from everyone who knows their city best and can help us to create a comprehensive plan and inclusive review that delivers for the people of Leicester,” Lord Austin was quoted as saying.

In August and September 2022, tensions between Leicester’s Muslim and Hindu communities flared, leading to days of violent disorder mainly involving young men.

These disturbances culminated in vandalism, assaults and attacks on property concentrated in the eastern region of the city following a cricket match between India and Pakistan.

Communities Secretary Michael Gove ordered a review in May 2023 as more than 70 people were arrested in connection with the unrest.

Leicestershire Police in March last year secured a £1.3m grant to deal with the fallout from the disorder.

Lord Austin’s appointment to lead the review has sparked significant controversy, with objections raised by city councillors, community organizations and the Muslim Council of Britain, citing concerns over his perceived divisive record and lack of legal expertise.

In response to his criticism, he defended his position, adding his unbiased approach and saying he went into the process with a completely open mind.

A government spokesman said the review would be “inclusive and representative” and that the panel was “keen to hear from as many people as possible to ensure the findings are inclusive and representative”.

“The commission seeks testimony and insight from all those involved in and affected by civil unrest, as well as from organizations with experience in community cohesion,” the spokesperson said.

“All responses will be treated confidentially, unless respondents choose to provide contact information for a follow-up conversation. All contributors should feel confident that their responses will be used to help better understand the disturbances and contribute to proposals on how to prevent such incidents in the future.”

The deadline for submitting evidence is June 4, with submissions accepted via the government website. Following the review, recommendations will be presented to both Leicester officials and the government later this year.

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