Polish police officers patrolling the streets of Essex after a spike in hate crime is “a very sad indictment of the prejudices that have surfaced recently”, a Labour MP has said.
Two officers arrived in Harlow on Wednesday following the spike in crimes against ethnic minorities in the wake of Britain’s vote to leave the European Union.
Their arrival in Essex comes one month after Polish national Arkadiusz Jóźwik, 40, died after sustaining head injuries following an assault in Harlow. Police made six arrests following the attack.
A 43-year-old man, who was also targeted in the attack, was taken to hospital with suspected fractures to his hands and bruising to his stomach. He was later discharged.
David Lammy condemned the need for Polish polish on duty in the UK.
Essex Police said the two officers will be assisting local officers for a week to “support our engagement with the Polish community in Harlow”.
Second lieutenant Bartosz Czernicki and chief sergeant Dariusz Tybura will be in uniform but will not have any formal police powers.
The officers arrived in Essex on the same day that Jean-Claude Juncker, president of the European commission, condemned the attacks against Polish people in the UK.
“We Europeans can never accept Polish workers being beaten up, harassed or even murdered in the streets of Essex,” Juncker said.
In the days following Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, racist attacks reported to police increased by 57%.
Anti-racist campaigners said the Brexit result had “legitimised the prejudices of some people”.
An Essex Police spokesman told the Huffington Post UK on Thursday: “Two officers are here for a week and will be here going out on patrols with Essex Police officers.
“They are here to support our engagement with the Polish community in Harlow.”
Pictures shared online show the officers standing by floral tributes left to Jóźwik in Harlow.
A spokesman for the Polish embassy in London said the officers’ presence was designed to ease community tensions and reassure Poles.
“They are there to assist with community relations for Essex.
“They will be helping to foster dialogue with the Poles and to help them feel more safe and secure in the area,” he said, the Guardian reports.
In London, a Polish community centre was also targeted just days after the EU Referendum result.
Officers investigated the criminal damage, which was thought to be racially- motivated.
Graffiti sprawled across the doors of the centre, based in Hammersmith, reportedly read: “FUCK YOU”.