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Race relations expert on UK Independent Review panel into Leicester unrest

Race relations expert on UK Independent Review panel into Leicester unrest

Dr Samir Shah, honoured with a CBE in 2019 for services to television and heritage, has this week been named on the government’s independent review panel into the unrest in Leicester in September last year.

The British Indian former Commissioner for the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities is Chief Executive and Creative Director of Juniper, an independent television and radio production company. Dr Shah has served as a Trustee and Deputy Chair of the V&A and was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Television Society in 2002 and, in 2019, was the Visiting Professor of Creative Media at Oxford University (Faculty of English). He was also chair of the independent race equality think tank The Runnymede Trust for two decades and was a member of the Holocaust Commission.

On the government’s Independent Review panel, Dr Shah will be joined by:

  • Hilary Pilkington, Professor of Sociology at the University of Manchester and Fellow of the UK Academy of Social Sciences

  • Dr Shaaz Mahboob, Head of Digital Development NHS England and Trustee of British Muslims for Secular Democracy for 10 years until 2018

Lord Ian Austin, appointed chair of the review earlier this year, said: “Leicester has a proud history of diversity, tolerance and community cohesion which makes what happened last year all the more troubling.

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“We want to listen to people in Leicester to understand last year’s events, what can be learned from them and how communities in the city can work together to prevent problems in future. It is therefore vital that the review is comprehensive and even-handed and that this aim is reflected in the panellists we appoint.

“The diverse panel brings together a wealth of experience and knowledge, which should result in an honest, frank and productive review.”

In September 2022, community tensions led to a spate of vandalism, assaults, and attacks on places of worship and other properties in Leicester, in some cases highlighting divisions between different groups across the city and beyond. UK Communities Secretary Michael Gove commissioned an Independent Review into the disorder to establish the facts and identify the underlying causes of last year’s unrest and make recommendations.

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The panel has the remit to:

1.     Establish the facts of what took place over the period of unrest, and a sequence of events.

2.     Present an analysis of the causes of the unrest.

3.     Make practical recommendations for how similar events that may arise in future could be prevented.

4.     Set out proposals and ideas for strengthening social cohesion locally.

The Independent Review is expected to publish the findings of the review next year.

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