Belfast Telegraph

We will arrest the yobs over racist attacks, vow police

By Claire Williamson

Arrests will be made after a recent spate of racist attacks on Polish families, a senior policeman has vowed.

The PSNI met Polish community representatives and Church leaders yesterday to discuss concerns over the litany of attacks, mainly in east Belfast.

Houses and cars have been smashed up and racist graffiti scrawled on the walls of homes belonging to Polish people recently.

The UVF is believed to be be behind the attacks.

Speaking after last night's meeting in Belfast City Hall, Assistant Chief Constable Will Kerr (right) vowed arrests would happen.

"Last week the police service set up a dedicated team of detectives to review the evidence to look at the investigations that have taken place to date, to put out the appeals for communities to give us this information, so that we can do the robust enforcement that is exactly what we want to do," he said. "There will be arrests over the next few weeks and months – I give that assurance tonight.

"But we need communities to give us the information to secure convictions against people who don't represent that normal decent, vast majority of people who live all across Belfast."

Belfast Telegraph figures indicated that more than two race attacks are reported to police every day, with equality campaigners concerned that up to 80% of incidents go unreported.

The PSNI has set up Operation Orion to target those behind hate crimes.

At the meeting yesterday, representatives sought assurances from the PSNI that they were serious about tackling racist crime.

Victims have expressed concern that they don't know where to get help when they are attacked.

The Honorary Polish Consul for Northern Ireland, Jerome Mullen, told the Belfast Telegraph: "It was a very united voice of people condemning the disgraceful attacks that are taking place here in Belfast on the Polish community.

"There is a determination on the part of the council, that's how it was left, that everyone was determined action must be taken to stop it."

Mr Mullen added: "The police have a big job on their hands and they will continue to try to bring people to book and arrest people if they can get the evidence.

"That's what they need; they need people to give the information that they need to bring these people to justice."

Further reading

Polish family's horror at hate attack

More Polish homes targeted by racist thugs in fresh bout of 'ethnic cleansing' by UVF

Polish arts festival in bid to end prejudice

Hate crime: Two thugs shouted racist abuse as they stabbed victim near Belfast's Lisburn Road

Gang of 15 that attacked Polish trio playing football 'needs taken off the streets'

Polish family flee loyalist Mount Vernon estate following spate of attacks

MP Naomi Long launches new service for Polish community after race attacks in east Belfast 

Hate crimes: Windows smashed and man assaulted in separate weekend attacks in Belfast

Hate crime: Child's woolly hat lies amid the charred aftermath of a racist arson attack on family

Day after racist thugs attacked her home in east Belfast resilient Polish woman is back at work

Seven attacks in 10 days as racist gang targets Polish community in east Belfast

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