Essex

Harlow murder inquiry: Concerns remain over alleged 'hate crime'

The vigil in Harlow Image copyright BBC/Chris Flynn
Image caption A vigil was was held in the town on Wednesday night

A public meeting in Harlow where a Polish man died and two others were attacked has heard some European nationals are considering leaving.

About 30 people attended the event organised by Essex Police following the death of Arkadiusz Jozwik, 39, attacked in The Stow at Harlow on 27 August.

Residents gathered at the Latton Bush Centre, Southern Way, on Saturday.

Police heard concerns about his death and assaults on two Polish men as well as other alleged hate crimes.

Image copyright Essex Police
Image caption The family said Mr Jozwik loved spending time with his relatives

Mira Gustmajdzimski, who was at the event, said Polish people no longer felt part of the community in Harlow, and "many people were scared to come to this meeting".

Albanian Mimoza Matoshi, who works for Integration Support Services in Harlow, said there has been a dramatic rise in racist attacks since Brexit.

She said some Polish people were considering leaving the town.

Miroslawa Majdzinska from Poland said she had been repeatedly targeted in racist incidents.

"Many people were abused, my friends were told not to speak the Polish language at work, kids are not allowed to speak Polish in school."

Ch Supt Sean O'Callaghan from Essex Police said: "Residents are understandably shocked and concerned following these violent incidents.

"We wanted to give the community an opportunity to raise their concerns.

Image caption Ch Supt Sean O'Callaghan needed to listen to residents' concerns so police officers could be put where they were needed

"Our figures show that about 2% of crimes are hate related and a smaller percentage are related to race.

"We have limited resources so need to put officers where they are needed," he added.

On Friday Prime Minister Theresa May has expressed her "deep regret" over attacks on Polish citizens living in the UK.

She told Polish PM Beata Szydlo that "hate crime has no place in UK society".

She referred to Poles attacked since Brexit in June and the killing of Arkadiusz Jozwik in Harlow.

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