Police call up new recruits to ensure a Happy Eid

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British Muslims prepare for Eid celebrations

POLICE determined to ensure Eid celebrations in the Alum Rock area of Birmingham run smoothly have enlisted the advice of experts…the people who live there.

Officers are keen to avoid a repeat of previous years when large numbers of people have congregated on Alum Rock Road as part of unofficial Eid celebrations.

That has caused major headaches with traffic congestion, overcrowding and some incidents of anti-social behaviour and criminal damage. But this year police consulted with local residents, faith leaders, businesses, youth providers and the local authority to shape the way it is policed.

Some community members volunteered to take on a civic role to ensure the celebrations have an element of community influence where behaviour becomes unacceptable. The new volunteers, highly respected members of the Muslim community, will work as contact points for officers.

Officers will still maintain a presence in and around Alum Rock Road, and will use video camera equipment as a deterrent to those causing a problem. The footage would potentially be used as evidence where appropriate. Police will also be targeting vehicles used in an anti-social manner.

Community members and officers felt this would be a fantastic opportunity to develop a solution where the community maintained ownership of the celebration and worked alongside local officers.

Inspector Craig Underwood, Sector Inspector for Alum Rock, said: “We know how important Eid celebrations are and it is actually really nice to see so many people get together to celebrate this important religious ceremony.

“Unfortunately, there are always a few people who cause trouble or distress to others. So we are very positive about linking in with local community figures who will work as a calming influence to those who may be behaving in a disrespectful manner. “

He added: “Often, this is a much more effective solution than officers intervening when the problem can be resolved quickly by members of the community who are highly respected.”

The Alum Rock Road area has an existing dispersal order, issued under the Anti-social Behaviour Act 2003 that allows officers to disperse groups and to remove individuals under 16 to their place of residence. Officers will only use these powers where it becomes necessary.

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