Police officer injured as fight breaks out during Ilford Eid celebrations
PUBLISHED: 16:18 31 July 2020
A police officer has been injured following a fight which broke out in Ilford Lane last night (Thursday, July 30).
At around 11.30pm, officers responded to numerous reports that a large crowd was blocking traffic on the junction of Ilford Lane and Dudley Road.
Once on the scene, police asked the crowd of around 150-200 people — who had attended Eid celebrations — to disperse.
They say that as crowds began to leave the area, a fight broke out between two groups at Rutland Road.
Police intervened and one officer sustained a head injury.
A man was arrested on suspicion of a public order offence and assault of an emergency worker. Police say that en route to custody he became unwell and was taken to an east London hospital as a precaution.
His injuries are not believed to be serious.
Ch Supt Stephen Clayman, leading the Met’s East Area Command, said: “While we accept that celebrations take place, and we have no desire to spoil them for the community, if they descend into violence we absolutely will step in.
“A number of calls were received last night from concerned members of the public and while we appreciate this is a time of excitement and celebration for some, the sight and sound of such a large group was concerning and even distressing for others.
“That this size of gathering has taken place during a pandemic is concerning. I remind all of our communities to respect each other and ensure that the government guidelines around social distancing are followed.
“Following a work day of protecting the public, one of my officers has had to return home to his family with a head injury. This is beyond unacceptable and I would like to be very clear that anyone assaulting an officer in the course of his or her duty will be arrested and placed before the courts.”
The Leader of Redbridge Council, Councillor Jas Athwal, added: “We want people to enjoy the summertime and especially times of celebration both safely and peacefully. We certainly don’t want to see a repeat of the scenes that marred Ilford Lane last night.
“We’re still in the middle of a global pandemic, and people must be mindful of that. Gathering in large groups is not safe for individuals, their friends or their family members who they may end up inadvertently infecting with the virus.”
Ilford South MP Sam Tarry condemned the “unacceptable” incident: “I call on those that were affected to report the incident to the police. There can be absolutely no excuse given for such behaviour on our streets, even more so during a pandemic.”
Speaking on behalf of the Redbridge Conservative group, Councillor Ruth Clark said: “I am not only concerned about the violence and attack on our police but also very worried about the lack of social distancing.
“Whilst the number of Covid-19 positives remains fairly low in Redbridge, we are the 12th highest on the list of Covid-19 cases in London and we must ensure that there will be no spike which could result in a lockdown.”
The shadow cabinet member for community safety continued: “I would ask everyone to celebrate Eid in a responsible way and show consideration to all residents.”
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