Everything we know about Harehills Road violence on Bonfire Night 2019

15 people have been arrested after violent disorder on Harehills Road during Bonfire Night.

Wednesday, 6th November 2019, 2:28 pm
Updated Wednesday, 6th November 2019, 2:29 pm

Fireworks and missiles were launched at residents and emergency services leaving a number of officers injured.

Here is everything we know about how the events unfolded:

When did the unrest start?

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Police officers were first called to Banstead Park in Harehills at 6pm, to reports of youths gathering and lighting a fire.

Community mediators assisted officers and attempted to disperse the youths.

But by 7.30pm youths had set fire to a wheelie bin on Harehills Road and had taken bins from outside homes to make a barricade in the middle of the road.

Residents reported having fireworks and missiles thrown at them, which were also aimed at passing cars.

Footage captured by Radio Sangam shows fireworks being aimed at riot police as they attempted to disperse youths from Harehills Road

When officers were deployed to Harehills Road they were attacked by fireworks.

Further bins were moved into the road and set alight, as youths congregated in the area and directed further fireworks and missiles towards officers.

Residents believe that youths were arriving to the scene from other areas of Leeds.

How did police officers respond?

Police officers on Harehills Road in the aftermath of the Bonfire Night disorder (Dan Rowlands/SWNS)

Footage shows fireworks being launched at riot police, who were attempting to disperse the group of youths from Harehills Road.

The road was closed as officers contained the incident, using public order tactics to disperse the group and make arrests.

A police helicopter was also seen circling above the area.

West Yorkshire Police says the situation was eventually calmed by about 12.30am on Wednesday.

Was anyone injured?

Four police officers received injuries during the incident. Two were treated in hospital, but none were seriously injured.

Residents have described their fear as fireworks were launched at them, but there are no other reported injuries.

How many people were arrested?

West Yorkshire Police says that 15 'local males' have been arrested, aged between 11 and 23.

They were all arrested on suspicion of violent disorder following the incidents in the Harehills Road area and remain in custody.

What happens now?

A full post-incident investigation has been launched to identify all those involved in the offences.

Detectives are working to identify further suspects by analysing CCTV footage, as well as evidence from helicopter teams and body-worn cameras.

What has West Yorkshire Police said about the incident?

The Police and Crime Commissioner Mark Burns-Williamson has condemned the attacks on the community and emergency services.

Chief Superintendent Steve Cotter, Leeds District Commander, has issued a full statement on the attacks.

He said: “The behaviour witnessed last night was completely unacceptable and I know that all members of the Harehills community are as appalled as we are at what occurred.

“We already had detailed partnership planning in place to deal with any such incidents, and this allowed us to respond quickly and bring matters to a peaceful conclusion without any significant impact on the safety of people in the area.

“We are now carrying out a full and comprehensive investigation to identify those involved in these offences and will be taking firm action against them.

“There is absolutely no suggestion that this was the result of any tension in the community or animosity towards the police.

"This appears to have been about a hooligan element of local youths seeing an opportunity on Bonfire Night to engage in firework-related disorder on a large-scale."

Read the full statement here.

How has the Harehills community responded?

Residents have praised volunteers who bravely stepped out onto Harehills Road to try to stop the violence.

Karen Harris has lived in Harehills for 27 years and praised the bravery of young volunteers who went out to help.

She said: "I witnessed one young lad go to the aid of a local resident who had fallen down when going to get her stolen bin and then had fireworks fired at her.

"He went to help and then had fireworks thrown at him, one of which ignited and burnt through his jacket.

"They were extremely brave. We need more people to stand up and say no to the nonsense."

I have information on the incident - what should I do?

Anyone with information, particularly any relevant mobile phone or dashcam footage, is asked to contact Leeds District CID via 101 quoting Operation Daydon.

Alternatively, call the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.