Leicester’s ‘Stabby’ park leaves students fearing for their safety

By Daniel Bellamy

Leicester students are fearing for their safety after sharing concerns over lighting around a popular park route through Bede Park.

An image of the green space Bede Park
An overview look on the popular open green space, Bede Park located in Westcotes

The calls for lighting improvements followed a previous initiative shared by the city council in which they aimed to turn Leicester street lights ‘greener’ by using LED alternatives.

Bede Park is the route for many students to and from campus and, more importantly, the route for students to social events at night.

Students and many users of the park nicknamed the space ‘Stabby’ Park referring to knife crimes and other anti-social behaviour that occurs across the park typically when darkness overcasts the area.

On several occasions, including September 24 last year, police cars were parked at the end and sides of the park, not only this, on a couple of mornings police have been spotted at the entrance of the park near a weapon detector gate.

Police were seen around these gates speaking to members of the public in a general manner.

A Leicester City Council spokesperson said: “The lighting provided is in line with permitted lighting levels for public green spaces to ensure a compromise is met between user safety and wildlife/biodiversity on the site, in particular minimal impact on bats.

‘”The site is regularly patrolled by parks wardens. Where there are repeat criminal offences recorded, this creates a profile with local police who then align police patrols in order of need, public safety.”

According to Leicestershire Police crime map data there were 17 reported incidents in September last year when students began arriving, which was a high number for that year.

One student said: “I feel anxious any time my friends ask me out, knowing I have to cross the park as my way to get there.”

The park is set to have CCTV surveillance installed in the future, with additional monitoring making it a safer place.

The city council spokesperson added: “In summary, safety in any site is dependent upon both the common sense informed decisions made by users, together with the provisions and maintenance incorporated into the location. Amalgamated, they contribute to designing out crime and anti-social behaviour wherever reasonably possible within the resources available.”

Concern for Leicester as violence and sexual offences rate doubles

By Thomas Carter

The proportion of violent or sexual offences out of the overall crime rate in Leicester has doubled over the last five years, recent figures have shown.

According to CrimeRate.co.uk, the number of crimes involving violence or sexual offences has reached 17,022 this year, accounting for 41 per cent of overall crime in the city.

The rate is a drastic increase on previous years, seeing a rise of more than double since 2016 when it was only 19.9 per cent.

In response to the figures, an official spokesperson for the Leicestershire Police Force told Leicestershire Press: “The force recognises that serious violence – especially that which leads to the death of a person – can have a devastating impact on the families of those involved and our communities.

“Just one death is a death too many and our officers continue to work and engage with communities and partners, through the Violence Reduction Network (VRN) to tackle the causes of street-based violence to prevent further harm.

“Between April 2019 and March 2021, there has been a decrease in incidents of knife-enabled, street-based violence for all age groups – including those under 25.”

Percentage of Crime (%) for violence and sexual offences has doubled (Credit: Thomas Carter)

In comparison to other crimes, violence and sexual offences are one of the few rates that have seen a constant increase in the last five years, alongside public order and drug-related crime.

When considering England, Northern Ireland and Wales as a whole, Leicester is among the top 20 most dangerous cities, having an overall crime rate of 97 crimes per 1,000 people in 2020.

On the matter of tackling the rising crime rate, the Leicestershire Police spokesperson added: “The force is currently running a hotspot policing trial, which aims to disrupt serious violence in targeted areas where violence is most common and further investment has been made with the introduction of school liaison officers, who work in a number of schools within these locations to engage with children and young people to divert and support them away from criminality and harm.

“The number of sexual offences – including sexual offences and rape – remain low and the force employs teams of specially-trained officers to investigate such incidents and offer support to victims.”

For further information and advice regarding subjects discussed in this article, please visit https://www.leics.police.uk/advice/advice-and-information/rsa/rape-and-sexual-assault/

Sarah Everard death affects Leicestershire women

By Kira Gibson

A sign put on a park gate in Leicester is echoing similar sentiments posted by women across the country who are leaving their mark as they protest about the way women are treated. 

A study by UN Women UK found that 97 per cent of women are sexually harassed or abused in some way at some point during their lives. 

Across social media, confessions of sexual harassment and abuse have been admitted, with many explaining that most of the time they’re abused, it’s by a man. 

A display of affection towards those affected by this issue has been left in Victoria Park in Leicester, wishing those who have been abused in the park to be okay. 

A sign placed in Victoria Park in memory of Sarah Everard

The sign says: “For Sarah Everard and every woman who has been assaulted and harassed in this park.”

Police raid parties and issue fines as students flout lockdown restrictions in Covid-hit Leicester

By Laura Murphy and Sarah Danquah

A student who was fined £800 for contravening lockdown laws and attending an illegal party says he doesn’t regret going to the party – he only regrets getting caught.

The 19-year-old student, who was visiting his girlfriend at DMU from his uni in London, was arrested by police after they broke up a huge party in student accommodation.

The incident happened on Saturday night (FEB27) at Inka Studios in Percy Road, near to the University of Leicester. There were more incidents nearer to DMU the previous night.

“We just wanted to be around people and didn’t really think about the virus,” admitted the 19-year-old student, who did not want to be named. 

Young people gather in the street after police put a stop to their illegal party.

“The police turned up at 4 am and shut everything down. I’m not really around people so who could I really pass the virus on to? All the people that are vulnerable are currently being vaccinated anyway.

“If you’re willing to break the law, though, you should be able to face the consequences.”

‘Several illegal parties’

It was one of several illegal parties students held in the city last weekend, according to Leicestershire police. Leicester currently boasts the second highest number of coronavirus cases in the East Midlands.

Similar parties were broken up by police in student households in Dover Street, Marquis Street and Tudor Road, near DMU, on Friday night.

Police estimate more than 100 students had attended the parties and that 35 people were issued with £200 forced penalty fines.

The Friday night party seemed to start in one house and move to others, say neighbours, as the police attended and broke-up gatherings.

Harvey Mills, the director of Cloud Student, the company that owns the student property in this area, said calls were made to police and they attended promptly. Mr Mills called on DMU to crack down on students breaking restrictions.

Residents of Tudor Road were disgusted at the blatant disregard for the rules.

“Some of us have lost our jobs so it’s quite disturbing seeing all these people being inconsiderate and not caring about what is happening around them,” one resident said.

Another resident who witnessed the partying said students were being irresponsible. “Parties like these occupy the police at the weekend,” she said. “The police shouldn’t have to deal with students being inconsiderate.”

A police spokesperson said they will be patrolling the Tudor Road area to prevent other gatherings from happening. 

Will it stop the gatherings? It might not. One student who ran from las weekend’s party and was not caught remains unrepentant.

“I wanted to have fun. I am tired of staying of indoors. I feel like Covid is never ending,” she said.

“I’d definitely go to a party again – not this week but probably next week.”

We asked DMU to comment on this, but they did not respond.

Deliveroo deliverer’s bike stolen as he worked in Welford Road

By Kira Gibson

A bicycle was stolen from outside Seven Tea in Welford Road last Tuesday (Feb 9) around 7.30pm. 

Seven Tea on Welford Road (Photo credit: Kira Gibson)

The bike belonged to a Deliveroo driver who was receiving an order to deliver when the theft happened. 

The driver followed the thief on foot directly following the incident, whilst bystanders watched on in shock.

It is unknown as of yet if the owner ever recovered the bicycle from the man who pinched it.