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Castlefield youth 'feel anger towards police'
YOUNG people on the Castlefield estate feel anger towards the police, a former High Wycombe youth worker says, in the wake of this week's national disorder.
A vigil was held last night to call for calm among the youth population after attacks on police cars in Castlefield the previous evening.
This followed the widespread civil unrest and riots elsewhere in the country this week.
The vigil, attended by between 30 and 40 young people aged between 12 and their mid 20s, was organised by the Justice for Habib Ullah campaign.
Mr Ullah suffered a cardiac arrest after being restrained by police three years ago and the Independent Police Complaints Commission is investigating.
Spokesman Saqib Deshmukh, a High Wycombe father-of-two, knows many of the families living in Rutland Avenue, Castlefield, from when he was a youth worker in the town from 1997.
He said: “I was here in Wycombe Tuesday evening, we patrolled around the town centre.
“We were aware there were some tensions, off the back of what happened nationally on Monday, and young people had been talking about this.
“We felt it was our responsibility to calm things down because sooner or later someone is going to get hurt.
“We know there's some anger on the estate towards the police and what we tried to do yesterday was to talk it through, get them to channel it far better.”
He said this anger stemmed from their own experiences with police and remembering events surrounding Mr Ullah's death.
A group of 20 to 25 youths threw stones on Wednesday night, smashing windows.
On Thursday night a similar sized gathering pelted a police car after officers. In an unrelated crime, another police vehicle on Rutland Avenue had its window smashed with a brick.
Mr Deshmukh told the youngsters: “If you have got a issue to do with the police you put a complaint in, what you don't do is throw stones at the police, be abusive and bring attention to your area.
"There's no point in throwing stones.”
He said the meeting passed off peacefully.
“It was successful in that sense,” he said.
“A lot of the community leaders as they were leaving, coming out of the mosques, were quite thankful that it was relatively peaceful.”
However, organisers had expected a senior police officer to attend to speak to the group.
Mr Deshmukh said this was a “shame” and a “missed opportunity” but Thames Valley Police insisted it had not received an invite as claimed.
Mr Deshmukh is hopeful lingering tensions have been eased and that there will be no further trouble.
Wycombe's Chief Inspector Colin Seaton said he had attended a mosque at 2pm yesterday as invited but there had not been a request for a senior officer to attend the vigil.
There was no trouble at the event and he thanked organisers for ensuring it was peaceful.
He said he would be more than happy to meet and address any groups in future to discuss these issues.
“We'll continue to work with the community,” he added.