Armed patrols in Leicester join the debate about policing in our city

Leicestershire police chief Simon Cole is to talk at a public event on 23 March about the force’s recent deployment of armed patrols in crowded places and whether this is a sign of things to come for people in Leicester.

The University of Leicester's Unit for Diversity, Inclusion and Community Engagement (DICE), The Race Equality Centre and CivicLeicester are inviting the public to attend the free event at The Race Equality Centre.

Mr Cole will be speaking about the deployment of visibly armed police patrols which took place in Leicester over the Christmas period. He will consider what the deployment meant, why the police think the exercise was necessary, what it achieved, how it was received and whether or not the exercise is a sign of things to come. 

Professor Surinder Sharma, co-Director of DICE and Chair of The Race Equality Centre said: “It is important to any community - particularly in a multicultural city like Leicester - that we understand why such an exercise was introduced last December. The key thing here was - and still is - communication and engagement with the public. This in turn is to ensure that such exercises do not present risk in term of local policies of equality, diversity, community cohesion, citizenship and the protection of the public and human rights.

“This event provides a great opportunity for police and general public engagement in Leicester. In the post-9/11, post-7/7 climate and given recent political changes such as Brexit and the proposed travel ban to the United States, we hope this event will help strengthen existing relationships and improve trust between our local communities and the police.”

Associate Professor John Williams, co-director of DICE, said: “Policing is always a contentious issue in complex societies, so it is important that senior officers are in contact with and accountable to local communities, especially when the latter perceive and experience what feels like a policy change that might have wider implications for policing the Leicester public.

“This is an important opportunity for local people to join in the debate about how to police Leicester - for today and in the future.”