Beds, Herts & Bucks

Luton police in talks over Sikh protest

Police have said they are talking to community leaders following a protest by hundreds of Sikhs at a Luton police station.

About 250 people gathered at Buxton Road at 21:00 BST on Tuesday over an allegation that a young Sikh woman had been sexually assaulted.

Police said the report was being investigated.

A 19-year-old man charged with common assault in connection with the allegation is due in court later.

'Aired responsibly'

Before the protest, senior officers had attended the Gurdwara in Dallow Road to meet Luton Sikh community leaders to explain the investigation into the report of an assault on Monday, a police spokesman said.

"This concluded satisfactorily and the officers left," he added.

"An hour later a wider group, including Sikhs from outside of the town, arrived at the Buxton Road police station to discuss the issues further.

"After considerable negotiation with representatives from the group, who were invited into the police station to talk, the protesters left at 11pm."

Ch Supt Mike Colbourne said: "Obviously we have a duty to facilitate lawful, peaceful protest and if people have concerns it is right they are aired responsibly.

"Our priority first and foremost, however, is with the victim in this matter and her family."

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