MP: ‘This is not the Leeds I know’
When I speak about my constituency, I do so with pride. I speak of the fantastic diversity of backgrounds and skills to be found here, and of the strong network of communities. That is why I was so shocked by the recent spate of violent attacks on students in the Hyde Park and Headingley areas. Reports suggest that they are being carried out by a gang of youths and have left a number of victims needing treatment for injuries sustained as a result of the attacks. This is not the Leeds I know, and while those residents heeding the call not to put themselves at risk at night are to be praised for their good sense, this should not be necessary.
The areas concerned are fantastic places to live: having lived in Headingley myself and having been a councillor there, I can vouch for that. During my time there I never heard of attacks of this nature taking place, nor have I since being elected as the Member of Parliament for the area.
Following this spate of attacks, I have written to the West Yorkshire Police asking them to ensure they are doing everything possible to catch and punish those responsible for these attacks. I am reassured that they are taking the matter extremely seriously, having stepped up patrols by both uniformed and plainclothes officers- in line with calls from students- as they work hard to identify those responsible for the recent spate of attacks.
The police have been doing a lot of good work to tackle crime in the area over the past few years. Initiatives such as ‘Knowledge’: a collaborative scheme involving Leeds Universities and Unions across Leeds, offer advice to students about safety and crime prevention. Initiatives like this are great for the area and are only likely to have a positive effect, so I would urge students to listen to what they have to say and work with them to help tackle crime in the area.
My student days were among my happiest, and all students have the right to enjoy their time at University, without being unduly burdened by safety concerns. I fully support all efforts by the police, student bodies and other groups to tackle this problem, and I, as the local MP, will of course be working with them to ensure everything possible is being done to address the problems and to catch and punish the individuals responsible for these recent attacks.