A POLICE car was set ablaze and large crowds gathered in the street - prompting a top-level meeting involving community leaders and officials appealing for calm in a Sheffield suburb.
The South Yorkshire Police patrol car was set on fire outside an address on Staniforth Road, Darnall, where an officer had called to interview a robbery victim.
Staniforth Road was closed after the arson attack on the Vauxhall Astra for investigations to take place - but then the police helicopter had to be called to help officers on the ground to control a group of men who gathered at the scene on Tuesday night.
The community meeting was held yesterday afternoon involving councillors, police and local leaders, to discuss the incident and ensure the area remains calm.
Darnall Labour councillor Mary Lea said: “It’s very upsetting that this can occur - it’s plainly wrong that a police car should be set on fire.”
Sylvia Hamilton, who chairs Darnall Forum which represents residents and businesses, said: “It’s disappointing that this incident has happened.”
Sheffield South East MP, Clive Betts, said: “I hope it’s a one-off incident but it’s a concern that this should happen. Anyone who attacks a police car is attacking the police who are there to preserve law and order.”
Married father-of-four Said Khan, aged 48, who lives in Darnall and works as a taxi driver, said: “There have been tensions between local youths and police. It is because of idiots who are unhappy that the police are cracking down on activities such as drug dealing.”
Another resident, who did not wish to be named, said: “Thugs go around doing things like this because there is no fear of authority any more.”
A spokesman for South Yorkshire Fire Service said: “We believe the fire was started deliberately.
“The inside of the car was well alight when the crew arrived.”
A South Yorkshire Police spokesman said: “A police officer was in the area of Staniforth Road in Darnall at around 10.45pm on Tuesday, taking a statement from a member of the public who had reported a robbery.
“While inside the complainant’s address, a police car was damaged.
“South Yorkshire Police are currently investigating. No arrests have been made.”