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WALSALL ATTACK: Police accused of an ‘outrageous’ systematic failure

WALSALL ATTACK: Police accused of an ‘outrageous’ systematic failure

Image: LDRS

West Midlands Police has been accused of an “outrageous” systematic failure to deal with a brutal attack on two Bangladeshi brothers in Walsall.

More than 1,500 people have put their name to a formal letter of complaint sent to chief constable David Thompson regarding the way a violent incident on March 1 is being investigated.

In the letter, the force is accused of persistent inaction in dealing with the crime with fears there could be “institutional racism or unconscious bias” against the Bangladeshi community.

Mr Thompson said he would be addressing concerns directly with the letter’s authors.

He has also been called by West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson to give an update at a public board meeting next week.

Abdul Hafiz, 44, and his 38-year-old brother Abdulla Al Mamun claimed they had asked revellers holding a lockdown party at a property near their home in Lord Street, Palfrey, to keep the noise down when things turned ugly.

They said they were chased down the road by a number of attackers and savagely beaten with fence panels used as weapons during the ordeal.

Mr Hafiz was knocked unconscious for around 15 minutes and suffered a fractured hip, while Mr Al Mamun was left with facial injuries.

Following the incident, West Midlands Police confirmed they were investigating the incident.

But, in the letter, sent by Walsall activist and Labour NEC member Mish Rahman and signed by 1,591 people mostly from the town, it is claimed:

*Police initially failed to attend on the night when the alarm was raised by family members;

*Officers only attended after paramedics made a second call asking for police assistance but no arrests were made;

*It took more than 48 hours for one of the brothers to be interviewed to obtain a witness statement;

*The second brother had not been spoken to a week after the incident due to officers awaiting an interpreter;

*Occupants of the house where the alleged party was taking place have continued to live there with no action being taken;

*In the weeks before March 1, the brothers had reported a number of alleged lockdown parties with police only attending once and taking no action.

The letter said: “The repeated and systemic failure of West Midlands Police is outrageous and unacceptable.

“The situation shows all the hallmarks of at worst institutional racism and at best unconscious bias against ethnic minorities and in this case specifically against the British Bangladeshi community.

“What is inarguable is that West Midlands Police has failed in its duty of care.

“The community has all but lost faith in West Midlands Police’s objectivity and specifically its desire and ability to protect them from crimes and violent attack.

“The community and public at large must be reassured that reports of crimes will be taken seriously and investigated, regardless of the background of the person making the report.
“There is still an opportunity for the mistakes over the way Abdul Hafiz and Abdullah Al Mamun to be addressed.  More importantly, lessons need to be learned very quickly to ensure there is no repeat.”
A West Midlands Police spokeswoman said: “Chief Constable Dave Thompson will be responding directly to the letter’s authors.”
Mr Jamieson said: “I have asked the Chief Constable to provide an update on the incident at my public board meeting on Tuesday to help reassure the public.”

Words: Gurdip Thandi, Local Democracy Reporter


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