Police are appealing for information from the public as detectives continue their investigation into a reported hate crime against the Sikh community in the Headingley area. The incident, involving the damage of a holy text, occurred on Wednesday, July 12, and was reported to the authorities at 5:03pm on Sunday, July 16.
A representative of the Sikh community discovered the damaged holy text outside a community member’s residence on St Anne’s Road. Initially, it was believed that the text had been discarded by an unidentified individual, as it was found in the victim’s bin, which had been put out for collection on Tuesday, July 11. However, officers visiting the victim have since discounted this possibility and are working to gather a comprehensive account of the incident.
The incident has been classified as racially or religiously aggravated criminal damage, highlighting the severity of the offence. Law enforcement officials are actively pursuing leads and conducting inquiries to establish the complete circumstances surrounding the incident, including how the damaged text came to be left at the victim’s address.
Hate crimes have no place in our society, and this incident has sparked outrage within the Sikh community and beyond. Authorities are urging anyone with information relating to the incident to come forward and assist in the ongoing investigation. This appeal for information signifies a unified effort to ensure justice is served and to prevent such incidents from occurring in the future.
Leeds District Commander, Chief Superintendent Steve Dodds said: “Any crime such as this which is perceived by the victim or any other person as being motivated by hostility or prejudice to their race or religion is treated as a hate crime, and we treat all incidents of this nature very seriously.
“It is completely unacceptable for someone to deliberately damage a holy text with the aim of causing offence to the victim as a member of the Sikh community.
“We have launched a criminal investigation led by detectives from Leeds District CID who are carrying out extensive enquiries to establish the full circumstances of this incident and to identify who is responsible.
“We fully appreciate that this incident has caused understandable concern in the local Sikh community and beyond, and we are working closely with key community representatives to reassure them and keep them updated as we progress our investigation.
“Officers from our local neighbourhood policing teams and other well-established community engagement officers will also be supporting our work to reassure the community following this incident.”
Anyone who witnessed anything suspicious in St Anne’s Road, Headingley, at any point prior to the damaged text being found at about 8.45am on Wednesday, July 12, or who has any information that could assist the investigation is asked contact Leeds District CID via 101 quoting crime reference 13230395971 or online at www.westyorkshire.police.uk/101livechat