Kirkby: Matrix van set on fire and vandalised
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Police have extended a dispersal zone in the wake of the “violent disorder” which flared outside a Merseyside hotel used to house asylum seekers on Friday night, during which a police van was set on fire. The shocking scenes resulted in more than a dozen people being arrested, and now Merseyside Police have confirmed the zone, introduced at the weekend, will remain in force for at least another 48 hours, until 12.59pm on Friday.
Superintendent Karl Baldwin from Knowsley Local Policing, explained: “Since the order was introduced on Saturday, we have issued several dispersal notices to those looking to gather without good reason in this area.
“We will continue to use these powers to ensure that there is no repeat of the scenes witnessed on Friday.
“Additional patrols will be in the area to enforce this, and to speak to those members of the community.”
The violence had put both the community and police officers at risk, Supt Baldwin said.
He added: “We have made 15 arrests at this time, and one man has been charged. A dedicated investigation team will be reviewing all available evidence to identify and bring to justice those involved in the disorder.
“We have introduced this dispersal zone to give officers the additional powers to approach people they suspect may be there to commit offences.
“There is no excuse for the violence that was carried out on Friday and we will arrest anyone who fails to heed this advice.”
Acknowledging widespread public concern, Supt Baldwin said much of it was “based on misinformation and rumour”.
He continued: “There is no excuse for resorting to violence. We know that those involved in the violent activity on Friday used rumours and allegations as an excuse to commit violence and intimidate members of the public.
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“Everyone has the right to live their lives in peace and without fear. We are listening to the concerns of our communities in Knowsley and will be continuing to do so this week.”
Referring to an alleged incident which is believed to have stoked tensions prior to the protests outside the Suites Hotel, he said: “The suspicious incident last week in Kirkby is, like all such allegations, under investigation by detectives and we always encourage anyone with information on suspected crime in your area to come forward directly to police or anonymously via Crimestoppers.
“Social media posting and sharing of unsubstantiated rumour is not the way to raise concerns to the police, it could jeopardise any investigation and put innocent people in harm’s way.”
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Information can be passed to the force’s social media desk @MerPolCC on Twitter or ‘Merseyside Police Contact Centre’ on Facebook.
Witnesses can also contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or via their online form at: https://crimestoppers-uk.org/give-information/give-information.
Police are appealing for anyone with information, footage or images of the disorder to contact them quoting reference 23000121093.
Anyone not wishing to report a hate crime to the police can contact the independent charity Stop Hate UK via a 24/7 confidential helpline on 0800 138 1625 or www.stophateuk.org.
They can also download the Stop Hate UK reporting app on Google Play or the Apple App Store.
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