Leicestershire Police’s Temporary Chief Constable has thanked the city’s communities for acting responsibly, and for responding to calls for calm throughout the “tremendous” and “highly enjoyable” Navratri celebrations.
After enjoying Navratri, T/CC Rob Nixon is now looking forward to enjoying a safe and enjoyable Diwali in Leicester, with measures in place to ensure that this year’s celebrations run safely and smoothly, following a period of tension and unrest in the east of the city.
“I’ve been really pleased that we’ve had a period of calm for at least two weeks, and that’s allowed Navratri to go ahead as planned. So I’d like to thank all of the communities,” he told the Leicester Times.
“The atmosphere was absolutely tremendous, the welcome was really, really good and again it just signified to me the richness of what Leicester has to offer.
“I’m really blessed that we’ve been well supported by the community, and having interacted with many of the people who enjoyed the celebrations, I think they’re extremely grateful and looking forward to Diwali,” he added.
This year’s Diwali celebrations kick off on Sunday (October 9), with the city’s famous lights switch on taking place on Belgrave Road.
A large number of uniformed officers will be patrolling the area, and there will also be drones overlooking the entirely of event, revealed T/CC Nixon.
“That will be relayed straight into our control room, which will be full of operators,” he said.
“We’ll have people in there doing intelligence work – looking at the crowd dynamics and groups forming that we might be a bit concerned about – people trying to commit crime or disorder.
“The drones allow us to respond to that really quickly, check it out, make sure people are safe, and that they have a fantastic event.
“Diwali is a massive event for Leicester, it has a global audience and Leicester is one of the best celebrations. We want it to go ahead as normal, so it’s business as usual,” he added.
“Because of that, we always have a lot of officers involved in it, but this year in particular we are increasing it just to give people that extra presence and reassurance to people that are attending.”
Asked about his final message to people attending Sunday’s celebration, he said: “I’d encourage people to go, get involved and enjoy it.
“It is a special event in the calendar, and I just want people to know that as they’re enjoying these festivities, my team will be working really hard. Some of them will be visible, some of them won’t be, but they’re all doing it in order to protect, make sure that everyone’s safeguarded, and that we have a fabulous and successful event.”