Police pledge over Lozells peace five years after riots

Image caption,
Windows were smashed at Asian premises

On the fifth anniversary of serious rioting which led to a murder in the north Birmingham district of Lozells, West Midlands Police say they will maintain order despite government cuts.

They will lose 2,000 officers as they try to trim £134m from their budget.

Social workers say they fear help for residents will be reduced.

One worker said inter-faith relationships had improved but ward support officers, environmental wardens and community managers would be sacked.

Man stabbed

In 2005, a pirate radio station DJ aired allegations that a black teenage girl had been gang raped by Asian men in a beauty shop near to the Lozells area.

The unsubstantiated claim helped to spark to two days of rioting which left one man stabbed to death and 36 in hospital.

Trevor Phillips, now head of the Equalities and Human Rights Commission, said at the time: "What appears to be a relatively tranquil scene can hide tensions and the brittleness of the community which becomes shattered when some difficult or unfortunate event takes place."

Wazim Zaffar, a leading community worker, said he was concerned that essential inter-faith workers would not survive the cuts.

"Relations between community groups in Lozells are good at the moment."

A police statement said: "Policing in Lozells - as in the rest of the West Midlands - will change as a result of the government's Spending Review, but we remain committed to tackling those issues that matter most to local people.

"We are confident that we will continue to protect and serve the people of Lozells and other areas in the way they expect."

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