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Public Order

House of Lords written question – answered on 6th November 2009.

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Photo of Lord Ouseley Lord Ouseley Crossbench

To ask Her Majesty's Government what advice they have given to education institutions, public bodies and the police about how to respond to the activities of the English Defence League and the Casuals United in the light of disturbances in Luton, Birmingham and Harrow.

Photo of Lord McKenzie of Luton Lord McKenzie of Luton Parliamentary Under-Secretary (also in the Department for Communities and Local Government), Department for Communities and Local Government, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (also in the Department for Communities and Local Government), Department for Work and Pensions, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Communities and Local Government) (also in Department for Work and Pensions), Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions) (also in the Department for Communities and Local Government)

The Government condemn any group that seeks to create distrust and divisions between communities, and is determined to stamp out racism and extremism.

The policing of demonstrations and activities by the English Defence League and associated groups is an operational matter for chief officers of police. My honourable friend, the Minister for Community Cohesion, has been in contact on this matter with the police.

Through regional government offices, the Government are working closely with a range of local partners and community groups to encourage them to work constructively with the police to help to ensure local communities are protected and to minimise community tensions which would only serve the ends of those who want to sow the seeds of division and tension. The Government have also written to local MPs affected by these demonstrations to encourage them to work with the police in the same way.

We encourage local authorities to reach out to local partners, community groups and members of the community to call for calm and a measured response to any demonstrations. The leadership demonstrated by communities in urging people not to resort to violence is welcomed and we would urge that this continue.

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