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London police advice on deterring criminals
London, Jan 11 (IANS):
Published on 12 Jan. 2010 12:09 AM IST
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London' police force has made a reported shift in its traditional advice for people not to intervene to catch criminals after an Indian builder who was murdered chasing muggers prompted a flood of tributes. A spokesman for Metropolitan Police, which is responsible for the British capital and its suburbs, said Sunday people should not be deterred from intervening if they witnessed a crime as long as they put their own safety first. The advice came after Sukhwinder Singh, a 31-year-old Indian national and father of one, died in hospital after being stabbed by two men who were fleeing after snatching a woman's handbag in the east London suburb of Barking. Sukhwinder gave the muggers a chase and was knifed when a fight broke out. Witness Confident, a British charity that campaigns to overcome the "walk-on-by culture that fuels violent crime," welcomed the reported shift in police advice. "The met is now giving a different message," said its spokesman Guy Dehn. "The officer at the time said, 'We don't want anyone else to do this'. The Met now officially yesterday put out the message, 'We hope the public will engage, but not jeopardise their own safety'. "There's a shift in the message coming from the police and that is very welcome," he told BBC television Monday. John Stalker, former second in command at the Greater Manchester Police, added: "Police have a simple line, but there are shadings beyond that: people can and should have a go if they feel they are able to." Sukhwinder, a builder, moved to Britain from India 10 years ago and was the main breadwinner for his family - his parents, wife Sandeep Kaur and 10-year-old son Gurjinder Singh - who live in a small village in Ludhiana district, local media reported. Locals as well as police praised Sukhwinder for coming to the aid of a woman he did not know - Karamjit Kaur, a 28-year-old student from India. Kaur has been treated in hospital for shock, and is too distraught to speak, but a friend said on her behalf: "She wants to thank Sukhwinder for what he did. It is very sad, no one expects that to happen." His cousin Harwinder Singh, with whom Sukhwinder shared a house, said: "I spoke to his parents and his wife, they are crying all the time. "Sukhwinder spoke to his wife twice every single day. He loved her very much. He was planning on visiting them this June and was looking forward to that." "He didn't know the woman who was mugged, but he would see a woman in trouble like that and try to help. That was what he was like," he told The Daily Mail. "His family were devastated to hear he has been murdered. To them England is a safe haven so they will never believe that their son and husband and father has been killed like this." Guy Dehn said Sukhwinder's murder was "every bit as serious as the murder of a policeman" and should be treated as such by the court. However, Detective Inspector John Sandlin said: "What Mr Singh did was very brave but I would not encourage that members of the public do that."

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