THE POLISH Embassy has condemned an attack on a Polish national by 20 men in Leeds which police have said was a racially aggravated assault
West Yorkshire Police said the 28-year-old victim was seriously injured when he was kicked and punched by a group of up to 20 youths in Alliance Street, Armley.
The embassy has issued a statement from the Polish Consulate, in Manchester, saying it was the most serious of more than ten xenophobic incidents involving Polish people in the North of England that it has dealt with.
Consul General Lukasz Lutostanski said; “We are grateful to the police for a decisive response and promise to send additional patrols to the area of the crime scene. We will work together on solutions that will permanently increase the safety of Polish nationals.”
Mr Lutostanki said he had spoken with the victim who was discharged from hospital earlier today. The attack took place on Friday night.
Police issued an appeal today. The force said that the victim and a friend had been confronted by the group and assaulted in nearby Town Street shortly before the attack. The victim ran off along Wortley Road and was pursued by the group to Alliance Street.
He received a cut to his to head that required stitches and is continuing to receive treatment in hospital. His injuries are not considered life threatening.
His attackers were described as a group of about 20 males, aged 16 to 18, wearing hooded tops.
The incident is being treated as racially aggravated due to comments made to the victim and his friend, police said.
Chief Superintendent Paul Money, Leeds District Commander, said: “I want to reassure people, particularly the local Polish community, that we will not tolerate hate incidents of this nature and will do everything we can to ensure the people responsible are brought to justice.
“Detectives from Leeds District CID are carrying out extensive enquiries into this incident and are checking CCTV in the area and speaking to witnesses. The victim is being supported by specialist officers.
It is vital that we hear from anyone who witnessed any part of this incident or who has any information that could assist us in tracing the people responsible.
“Armley is an area with a strong sense of community across a population from a range of ethnicities and nationalities and I know that people living there will be as shocked and appalled as we are at this incident.
“I appreciate this attack will have understandably caused heightened concerns among eastern European communities but we are treating it as an isolated incident and not as an indicator of any ongoing hate issue in the area.”
Last week Theresa May has expressed her “deep regret” over attacks on Polish citizens living in the UK in a phone call to her counterpart in Warsaw.
The Prime Minister told Beata Szydlo that “hate crime has no place in UK society”, Downing Street said.
The discussions between the two leaders came after Home Secretary Amber Rudd and Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson held talks with their counterparts on Monday.
Poles have been victims in a series of incidents since the UK voted to leave the European Union in June, including the killing of Arkadiusz Jozwik in Harlow, Essex, and the assault of two Polish men within hours of a vigil following his death.
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