Beds, Herts & Bucks

Habib Ullah verdict: Police 'not serious' about vandals

window smashed in High Wycombe
Image caption Thames Valley Police responded with mounted patrols and urged witnesses to come forward

A vandalism spree linked to an inquest verdict is "not being taken seriously enough" by police, campaigners have said.

More than 200 cars in High Wycombe have been damaged since a misadventure outcome was recorded over the death of Habib Ullah - known as Paps.

Campaign group Justice 4 Paps said a public meeting was needed to end continuing "copycat action".

Thames Valley Police said it had met with those "directly affected".

The crime spree began shortly after the 2 March verdict on the death of Mr Ullah, 39, from Slough, who collapsed during a police stop and search in 2008.

Image copyright Justice4Paps
Image caption Supporters of Habib Ullah have held more than a dozen vigils calling for justice
Image copyright Other
Image caption Habib "Paps" Ullah died on 3 July 2008 after collapsing during a search

Car windows have been smashed and "NJNP" - thought to stand for No Justice No Peace - painted on vehicles.

Eight people have been arrested and bailed over the damage.

'Hard to understand'

Justice 4 Paps has condemned the acts but said while it could understand people's initial anger it was now "harder to understand".

Spokesman Saqib Deshmukh said: "What we're seeing now is copycat action .... my concern is we are not addressing it in the right way."

He said the group had information to suggest people "from a range of backgrounds" were involved.

"Unfortunately, the police actions only seem to concentrate on one group of people - which is a group of young Asian men," he said.

"I don't think the police are taking it seriously enough, just putting mounted patrols into one area isn't enough."

Mr Deshmukh said a public meeting was needed so affected communities speak to police and campaigners.

Thames Valley Police said it had been using social media "to reach more people than a community meeting ever could" and officers on patrol had been speaking to residents.

The force has also said a misconduct hearing will be held following the inquest verdict.

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