Delaney Brown death arrests 'not the answer' to tensions
- 5 October 2012
- From the section Beds, Herts & Bucks
The grandfather of a Luton cyclist killed in a "targeted attack" has said arrests at the scene of the death will not ease growing tensions.
Seven youths were held for public order and drugs offences at a temporary memorial for Delaney Brown in Vincent Road, Luton on Wednesday night.
Mr Brown, 19, was knocked off his bike by a car on 5 September.
Delaney Brown Senior said the men "need counselling, not arresting" but police said "appropriate action" was required.
Bedfordshire Police said they responded to calls of anti-social behaviour after residents near the site complained about youngsters drinking, playing loud music and glass being smashed.
Officers said they were "pelted with rocks and stones" after receiving reports of trouble in the area.
Six youths were arrested for public order offences and one was held on suspicion of possession of drugs with intent to supply.
Ch Insp Rob McCaffray said the force would continue to respond to any anti-social behaviour occurring in relation to this "on-going incident".
At a community meeting on Thursday, Mr Brown's grandfather said police should have called community leaders to the scene.
He said that since his grandson's death, he had been working with the police and about 40 boys to "keep a lid on things", and the arrests were a "flagrant disregard" for what they were trying to do.
"We've got boys who are hurting and we've got boys who are crying every day," he said.
"These boys need counselling."
He added that community relationships had "gone backwards" and needed rebuilding.
"Those boys absolutely hate the police now, but we need the police, we live in a society where we can't live without them," he said.
The meeting was organised by the African Caribbean Community Development Forum to discuss rising tensions since the death.
Ch Supt Mike Colbourne, from Bedfordshire Police, said it was "a very sensitive issue" at a location that was "very emotionally charged".
However, he said there had been people gathered there since the incident who "acted in a way that is not appropriate".
"Inevitably we are going to get calls about [anti-social behaviour] and the public are going to expect that we do something to try and encourage people to act with dignity and respect," he said.
"My officers have had bottles thrown at them and been abused and there have been difficult and tense situations and we have had to operate in a very mature way that is sensitive to those needs but take appropriate action."
Detectives investigating the death have arrested and bailed four people so far.