Leeds memorial to shot policeman vandalised

Image caption,
Police are treating the vandalism as racial damage

A memorial to a policeman who was murdered in Leeds more than 25 years ago has been vandalised.

Sgt John Speed was shot dead in 1984 while going to the aid of a colleague who was injured during a check on two men acting suspiciously.

Over the weekend graffiti was daubed on the memorial stone on Kirkgate.

Police are treating the vandalism as racial damage because the graffiti resembles a swastika. A 19-year-old man and another man have been arrested.

A West Yorkshire Police spokesman said the men had been released on bail and inquiries were ongoing.

Michael Downes, chair of the West Yorkshire Police Federation, described the vandalism as disgusting.

Mr Downes said: "It's important to refer to Sgt Speed as John Speed because police officers are just members of the community, the boys and girls next door who happen to join the police service.

"I think sometimes that can be lost beyond the uniform. They are just ordinary lads and lasses doing a very difficult job in difficult circumstances.

"Enquiries would appear to indicate this was not targeted, there has been similar graffiti found in the vicinity... nonetheless it's still a disgrace and disrespectful."

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