Police chief meets faith leaders to discuss tensions in Sheffield community after shooting and stabbing

Inspector Shakeel Ahmed, Imam Ayoub and Dr Alan Billings.
Inspector Shakeel Ahmed, Imam Ayoub and Dr Alan Billings.
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South Yorkshire's police and crime commissioner met with faith leaders to discuss tensions between different ethnic groups in the wake of a stabbing and shooting that has rocked a community.

Dr Alan Billings visited Spital Hill in Burngreave to meet with Imam Ayoub at the Kurdish Mosque in the Firdaws Trust Centre to learn how the diverse community is pulling together to reassure residents after a series of violent brawls between rival gangs.

Dr Alan Billings, centre, visits The Real Junk Food Project.

Dr Alan Billings, centre, visits The Real Junk Food Project.

His visit comes after an attack in which a 17-year-old boy was stabbed and another 48 hours later in which a 33-year-old man was shot. Both incidents are believed to have involved gangs of Somalian and Kurdish men.

Dr Billings accepted an invitation to meet with Imam Ayoub yesterday and the pair discussed how faith leaders are working together with police and individuals from different nationalities.

The commissioner learned how community leaders are keen to reassure residents and build bridges between different groups.

Dr Billings said: “I would like to thank Imam Ayoub for his hospitality and the invitation to visit the mosque. We spent time discussing the diverse communities within Spital Hill and how closely they are all pulling together.

Inspector Shakeel Ahmed with Dr Alan Billings.

Inspector Shakeel Ahmed with Dr Alan Billings.

"I was pleased to hear how the community were welcoming the additional officers based in Sorby House and how their visibility in the area on patrol is helping local residents feel safe.”

Following the unrest a dedicated police team - consisting of a sergeant and four police constables - has moved into a building in the community called Sorby House.

Dr Billings visited the base as part of a walkabout of the area with Inspector Shakeel Ahmed.

He also visited The Real Junk Food Project and learned about how they turn items of food on their sell by date into ingredients for meals in their Steeple Corner Café.

The project provides the opportunity for people to visit their premises to buy food on a contribution only basis.

The incident in which the teenage boy was knifed happened on Monday, June 19. The shooting incident took place two days later on Wednesday, June 21.

Anyone with information should call police on 101.