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Independent review launched into civil unrest in Leicester

  • Review will establish the facts and identify the underlying causes of the unrest
  • Recommendations to be made for improving community relations and preventing similar events in the future
  • Independent panel to be appointed, led by Lord (Ian) Austin

An independent review into the unrest that occurred in Leicester last year has been commissioned by Secretary of State for Communities Michael Gove.

In September 2022 community tensions led to a spate of vandalism, assaults, and attacks on places of worship and other properties in Leicester, in some cases highlighting divisions between different groups across the city and beyond.

During the height of the unrest, the Government worked closely with the local police force, Leicester City Council and other local partners to bring calm to the situation and protect communities from across the city.

Communities Secretary Michael Gove has now commissioned an Independent Review into the disorder and has appointed Lord (Ian) Austin as chair. Lord Austin is a former Minister for Housing and Planning and former Minister for the West Midlands.

He will lead an independent panel of experts – which will be appointed in due course – to work on understanding the origins of the unrest and explore how similar events can be prevented in the future, both in Leicester and elsewhere.

The panel will:

  • establish the facts of what took place over the period of unrest, and a sequence of events;
  • present an analysis of the causes of the unrest
  • make practical recommendations for how similar events that may arise in future could be prevented; and
  • set out proposals and ideas for strengthening social cohesion locally

Secretary of State for Communities Michael Gove said:

Leicester has a proud history of community cohesion, which makes last year’s disorder all the more shocking and upsetting.

This review will build a thorough understanding of the specific events that took place and what can be learned from them.

I have spoken to both the Home Secretary and the Mayor of Leicester to underline the importance of protecting all parts of the community in Leicester and we will not tolerate attempts to foster division or violence among people or between religious groups.

Leicester City Mayor Sir Peter Soulsby said:

I welcome the Government’s announcement.  I hope the review can move forward as swiftly as possible, whilst of course being thorough and given the attention it deserves.

I would want Leicester and other cities to be able to learn from its findings and to understand what needs to be done to ensure that our community cohesion is never again threatened in this way.

Lord Austin said:

Acceptance of each other’s background and beliefs is at the heart of our national identity.

Communities living and working together have formed some of the most vibrant societies across the country and cities such as Leicester have proud histories of tolerance and diversity.  

This makes the scenes we witnessed in Leicester last year all the more worrying and it is therefore so important that we listen to people in Leicester to get to the bottom of what happened and why.

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