Page last updated at 22:05 GMT, Thursday, 22 March 2007

Police adopt 'low-key' approach

Police guard a house in Cardinal Road, Beeston
Police kept a deliberately low profile during the latest searches

As the media spotlight returned to the Leeds suburb of Beeston police said they were keen to maintain a low-key approach within the community.

Speaking after one man was arrested in the area on Thursday local MP Shahid Malik welcomed the police tactics.

The Dewsbury MP said he had urged Home Office ministers to ensure any raids did not create tensions in the area.

However, some Beeston residents said they were still unhappy their area was once again under scrutiny.

'Fight extremism'

Mr Malik's constituency neighbours Beeston and was the home of Mohammad Sidique Khan, who detonated the Edgware Road bomb.

He said he felt the latest operation was conducted with more sensitivity than anti-terror operations carried out two years ago.

Mr Malik said: "I had a meeting with the then police minister Tony McNulty to talk about how these raids could be improved.

"The reality is that the raids are not going to go away but we need to make sure that they are as effective as possible and there is the least disruption, which will maximise people's resolve to support the police and fight extremism."

Tempest Road - where one of the houses was being searched - was once the starting point for a "show of strength" by Beeston residents.

Shahid Malik MP
Mr Malik said police would benefit from carrying out sensitive raids

Hundreds of residents came together for the march, in July 2005, which was organised by the Together in Leeds 11 organisation and included both Muslims and Christians.

West Yorkshire Police were meeting with local people on Thursday evening to "provide reassurance" in the wake of the raids.

'Not happy'

Officers continued guarding a property on Rowland Place.

A woman living opposite the house, who declined to be named, said: "It has taken a long time to get over it from last time.

"I'm not happy about all this, a lot of people around here feel the same."

Two police officers guarded a mid-terraced house in Firth Mount as two riot vans were parked in a nearby road.

Neighbour Diane Jackson, 43, said: "You mention Beeston to anyone and they say what a dangerous area it is.

"I explain it's not, and it's usually very quiet. Beeston's got an unfair reputation and whenever we have raids like this it just brings it all up again."

'Provide reassurance'

Chief Supt Int Mark Milsom said the force was keen to keep local residents informed of what was happening.

He said: "Officers are meeting with local people to keep them informed and provide reassurance to the wider community and we thank them for their continuing support while the investigation takes place.

"As usual local neighbourhood police teams are also on patrol in the area."

City councillor for the area David Congreve said that generally the local community had reacted calmly to news of the latest local arrest.

He said: "They will face it with the resilience and fortitude for which the people of Beeston are well known."


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