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Panellists confirmed for review into unrest in Leicester

The unrest was sparked following a cricket match between India and Pakistan in September last year.

The panellists were appointed by the Communities Secretary, Michael Gove (Yui Mok/PA)

Three panellists have been appointed to sit on an independent review into unrest in Leicester last year which saw dozens arrested.

Violence erupted in the city last September involving British Pakistani Muslim and Indian Hindu communities, following a cricket match between India and Pakistan.

The unrest descended into a spate of attacks on places of worship, vandalism and assaults, with police officers diverted from the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II to help quell the disorder.

The Communities Secretary, Michael Gove, announced an independent review into the incident in May, chaired by the independent peer, Lord Ian Austin.

The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities confirmed the three panellists on Monday as:

– Dr Samir Shah CBE: a former commissioner for the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities, former chairman of the independent race equality think tank The Runnymede Trust for 10 years and was a member of the Holocaust Commission

– Professor Hilary Pilkington: professor of sociology at the University of Manchester and Fellow of the UK Academy of Social Sciences. She is currently the coordinator of the H2020 Dare (Dialogue about Radicalisation and Equality) project, and her research includes [a] focus to the study of youth participation, activism, stigmatisation and extremism in the UK

– Dr Shaaz Mahboob: Head of Digital Development NHS England and trustee of British Muslims for Secular Democracy for 10 years until 2018, including its vice chairman for a number of years.

Speaking on the appointments, Lord Austin said: “Leicester has a proud history of diversity, tolerance and community cohesion which makes what happened last year all the more troubling.

“We want to listen to people in Leicester to understand last year’s events, what can be learned from them and how communities in the city can work together to prevent problems in future.

“It is therefore vital that the review is comprehensive and even-handed and that this aim is reflected in the panellists we appoint.

“The diverse panel brings together a wealth of experience and knowledge, which should result in an honest, frank and productive review.”

The panel will look to establish the facts of the unrest and analyse its causes, with a view to making “practical recommendations” on how to avoid such events in future, the DLUHC said.

It is expected to publish the findings of the review next year.

Friday marked a year since the beginning of the disorder, which led to 58 people being charged.

Thirty-two people have since been found guilty of offences including possession of weapons, driving offences, threats to kill and assault of an emergency worker.

Sentences included prison for up to 10 months, suspended sentences and fines, with 19 cases still pending at court, Leicestershire Police said.

Speaking on Friday, 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.

“My team have good relationships with a number of key people within the communities who I speak to regularly and I am hugely grateful to them for working with us.

“It is a matter of importance to me personally that we maintain this open dialogue and effect change where we can.

“We continue to ensure that officers working in East Leicester are given briefings concerning cultural sensitives, religious festivals, and prayer times.

“These briefings set clear expectations for officers in how the community might be expected to engage and react to any policing operation.

“We also offer to religious leaders and local councillors the opportunity to carry out joint patrols with officers to provide transparency in policing style, including with senior police officers.”

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