28 Oct 2020

Statement on community and student safety in Headingley

Leeds City Council and Leeds District Police are reassuring students and other residents in Leeds that their safety is a priority, following concerns online about alleged incidents in Headingley including speculation of a sexual assault in an alleyway on October 22.

West Yorkshire Police has said it fully understands the worry these online reports have generated but can confirm no such incident on October 22 has been reported to officers.

Paul Money, Leeds City Council’s chief officer for Safer Leeds, said:

“We are aware of a number of reports on social media of incidents that have allegedly taken place on an alleyway in Headingley.

“The council works closely with the city’s universities and West Yorkshire Police to ensure students and residents feel safe and to identify any issues in particular areas.

“Residents can be assured that where additional safety measures are needed we will not hesitate to implement them.

“We are committed to keeping all residents in Leeds safe and we take the issue of sexual violence extremely seriously. We would encourage anyone to report incidents of this nature to the police.”

Detective Chief Inspector Mark Walker of Leeds District Police, said:

“We are aware of rumour on social media regarding a sexual assault occurring on an alleyway between St Michael’s Lane and Kirkstall Lane on October 22, and of other offences there, and fully appreciate the worry it may have caused students.

“We can confirm no such offence has been reported to West Yorkshire Police on this date at this location, and we are not aware of any other similar offences there in recent weeks either.

“An earlier incident was reported to police on September 27 and required a scene to be cordoned off in an alleyway that runs between Kirkstall Lane and St Michael’s Lane, Headingley,

“That incident was fully investigated and, while we are at this time unable to corroborate what was reported, we are continuing our enquiries.”

He added: “Fortunately stranger sexual offences do remain rare, but I want to reassure students and all other residents that when such offences are reported they are treated extremely seriously and investigated by specialist officers using every resource at our disposal.

“We do work closely with partners in our universities to advise on student safety and our local neighbourhood policing team are carrying out reassurance work in the area in question.

“I cannot stress enough that anyone who has been a victim of a sexual assault should please make contact with West Yorkshire Police and that we do everything we can to support victims."

For media enquiries contact:

Leeds City Council Communications team