Rotherham Muslim boycott of South Yorkshire Police ends - with new proposals agreed

The Britain First Party stage a march through the streets of Rotherham. Police escort and guide the march
The Britain First Party stage a march through the streets of Rotherham. Police escort and guide the march
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A call for Rotherham’s Islamic community to boycott South Yorkshire Police has been dropped - two days after it was announced.

On Monday the British Muslim Youth Group in the town voted for Muslim organisations to cut all lines of communication with the force - with leader Muhbeen Hussain later saying it was a ‘desperate measure’ as police had not done enough to protect the Muslim community from racial attacks after the Rotherham child sex abuse scandal.

Today an official statement from Mr Hussain said the boycott had been dropped and a set of proposals for action drawn up with Rotherham MP Sarah Champion and Police and Crime Commissioner Dr Alan Billings.

The statement added: “We believe that the boycott has been successful in facilitating the correct dialogue needed to hear the concerns of many ordinary law-abiding Muslims living within Rotherham and silently enduring hate crimes.”

“We are aware that the boycott was a bold step. However, many felt that the British Muslim Youth took a bold step when it led the very first UK Muslim led demonstration against child sexual exploitation.

“Just as that bold step allowed us to stand with the victims of CSE to highlight the injustice done to those victims, we believe that this bold step has highlighted anti-Muslim hate crimes.”

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Proposals include writing to the Home Secretary about the impact of hate crimes and repeated far-right marches in Rotherham as well as an independent inquiry into ‘policing tactics’ used during a march in Rotherham on September 5.

Minister Theresa May will also be asked to commit to end the ‘intimidation Muslims in Rotherham face.’

Rotherham Council and the police force are to detail their strategies to tackle all hate crimes and make a commitment to involved community groups.

The police and crime commissioner is to set up a panel involving community groups to consider the way in which demonstrations are policed, along the lines of the panel of the PCC for Greater Manchester.

And another proposal is to work with all communities to ensure cohesion in Rotherham.

“We hope that in the coming years this will become a beacon of hope for towns and cities around the country”, said the statement.

Ms Champion added: “South Yorkshire Police acknowledge that hate crimes are increasing in Rotherham. However, when I speak to my constituents they are not even reporting the crimes they endure and they don’t believe the police take them seriously.

“I am optimistic that there is now an opportunity to start a positive and productive working relationship between the Rotherham Muslim community, South Yorkshire Police and the Police and Crime Commissioner to tackle this vile crime head on.

“It is completely unacceptable that my constituents, many of whom are third generation Rotherham, are too scared to go into town because of the abuse they face because they are a British Muslim.

“No one should feel a hostage in their own home because of their faith or ethnicity.”

Chief Superintendent Jason Harwin, commander for Rotherham’s Local Policing Unit, previously said he was hoping to speak to the group ‘urgently’ to resolve the matter.

Dr Alan Billings, Police and Crime Commissioner for South Yorkshire, said: “I am pleased that the Rotherham Muslim Community Alliance have called off their boycott of engagement with South Yorkshire Police and accepted an invitation to work together to improve community cohesion within the town.

“I will personally be scrutinising the policing tactics used during the demonstration on 5 September and I will be looking to establish a panel, involving community groups, to consider how future demonstrations are policed.”