Hate e-mails sent to councillor over litter leaflets
Police have now launched an investigation after a
councillor who uncovered a stockpile of potentially offensive
anti-littering leaflets was sent hate mail.
Coun John Robertshaw (Con, Bowling and Barkerend) says
he received “vile” emails from around the world after he exposed a
blunder involving around 16,000 anti-littering leaflets aimed
specifically at Muslims had to be scrapped by Bradford Council.
The full-colour, glossy flyers were printed six months
ago but were never distributed after a senior council manager spotted
the potential to offend.
Now police have confirmed they are are investigating
after Coun Robertshaw received hate mail after the story appeared in
A spokesman for West Yorkshire Police described the
emails as “derogatory in nature”.
He added: “An officer has been assigned to help verify
their origin and establish any offences committed.
“The Neighbourhood Policing Team is monitoring the
situation and will take action where appropriate.”
Coun Robertshaw said he hoped those responsible for the
emails were “brought to book.”
He said: “It’s sad people want to spend their time doing
this sort of thing. In many respects these people are very ignorant
about what we are doing in Bradford.
“I want the law to do what they have to do. The fact I
have spoken out on an issue that affects Muslims, and I am a white man,
it’s clear it is race hate. The content is disgraceful.
“I don’t regret anything I have done and I am not going
to be intimidated.”
Coun Robertshaw said two questions would be asked at
next week’s meeting of the full council about the issue.
An invoice detailing how much the leaflets cost will be
requested, he said. The Council will also be asked for details about
how the leaflets came to be produced.
A spokesman for the Council has previously said the
leaflet was issued by a junior officer, and Council leader Ian
Greenwood said the production cost about £350.
'Offensive' litter leaflet is scrapped by Council
Thousands of Bradford Council anti-littering leaflets
targeted specifically at Muslims have been scrapped following fears
they may be offensive.
front of the litter leaflet that has been scrapped
About 16,000 of the full-colour, glossy flyers were
printed six months ago but were never distributed after a senior
Council manager spotted the potential to offend.
Now Conservative councillors are demanding to know who
authorised the printing of the leaflet, at a cost of hundreds of pounds
to the taxpayer, and why the error was not spotted earlier.
The Tory group also believes if they had been
distributed, the Council could have faced charges for inciting racial
The leaflet states: “There is no excuse for dropping
litter and living in a dirty neighbourhood. Dumping rubbish on the
streets makes the area look horrible. It is also illegal.”
But it goes on to say: “What does Islam say about the
environment we live in?” and quotes verses of the Koran and that Allah
has declared the whole of the earth as a place of prayer for Muslims.
John Robertshaw, chairman of the Council’s social care overview and
scrutiny committee, discovered the leaflets by chance.
He said: “I was mortified to learn that the Council has
16,000 of them, double sided, full colour and glossy, sitting in a room
collecting dust. Apparently it was not until they were about to be
distributed that a Labour councillor noticed that the content was
“I find it impossible to accept that particularly in
these financially-difficult times no-one proof-read the original draft
and prevented money being wasted on a leaflet which could never have
“A leaflet encouraging people not to drop litter,
specifically targeting believers in Islam, is so outrageous that I
still find it hard to believe that this has happened.”
Coun Robertshaw, who represents the Bowling and Barkerend ward, added that he
would be asking Councillor Ian
Greenwood, the leader of the Council, for clarification on how much
the leaflets cost and who is responsible for their existence.
“If these had gone out the Council could have been
charged with inciting racial hatred, suggesting that litter dropping is
exclusive to or more prevalent amongst Muslims,” he said.
A spokesman for the Council said: “A leaflet which was
clearly inappropriate was issued by a junior officer. Lessons have been
learned and it was withdrawn by management.”
Councillor Greenwood said the leaflets had cost about
£350. He said it was “not appropriate” to promote or criticise
any particular religious view.
He said: “Somebody has made a mistake and it has been
rectified as soon as senior management realised the error.”
He said the Council was “not in the business” of
seriously reprimanding a junior officer for the mistake.