Detectives launched an investigation following a number of linked incidents over the course of the weekend of 12/13 January in east London, whereby a small group of individuals were seen to approach and harass members of the public at various locations.
Videos of the incidents were uploaded onto YouTube.
On Thursday 24 January officers issued a specific appeal for a victim seen in a YouTube video to contact them. The incident was captured on a video uploaded titled ‘Muslim vigilantes in London harass and taunt gay male’.
It is not clear to officers at this time where this incident took place or when, but the video shows a small group verbally harass and intimidate a man using homophobic language.
Officers are eager to speak to a man in the video and have issued a screen grab from the uploaded video and are appealing for him to contact police.
DCI Wendy Morgan, from Tower Hamlets borough, said:
“The Met takes such homophobic behaviour very seriously. This man is a crucial witness in the investigation and would encourage him and anyone else with information relating to this incident to make contact in confidence as soon as possible.”
The Metropolitan Police Service takes these incidents very seriously and is pursuing various lines of enquiry with a view to identifying and prosecuting the individuals concerned.
The investigation is being conducted by the Community Safety Unit at Tower Hamlets.
Anyone with information relevant to the investigation is asked to contact police at firstname.lastname@example.org (for the attention of DI Cliff Jones, DS Chris Bagshaw, DC Stacey Yarker); or to report it to police via 101. If you wish to remain anonymous call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
+ Five men have so far been arrested in connection with this investigation, including this homophobic incident:
On 20 January a man [A – 22 ys] was arrested in the Acton area. He was later bailed to return to an east London police station in early March pending further enquiries.
On 21 January a man [B – 19 ys] was arrested after attending an east London police station. He was later bailed to return to an east London police station in early March pending further enquiries.
On 24 January two men [C – 25 ys; D – 29 ys] were arrested and have since been bailed pending further enquiries (date awaits).
On 25 January a 17-year-old boy was arrested in the E17 area. He has since been bailed pending further enquiries (date awaits).
All are arrested on suspicion of GBH and Public Order offences.