Campaigners slam ‘removal’ of Leon Briggs memorial

Luton Police Station
Luton Police Station

Demands to downsize a memorial for Leon Briggs turned into an “insensitive and unwarranted” destruction of his shrine, according to campaigners.

The Luton News first revealed in February that Beds Police had contacted the Briggs family to tell themthat the memorial– outside Luton Police Station on Buxton Road– had been been deemed a “security risk”.

Candle lit vigil at Luton Police Station for Leon Briggs in December 2013

Candle lit vigil at Luton Police Station for Leon Briggs in December 2013

Leon, 39, died after being detained at the station under the Mental Health Act in November 2013.

Justice 4 Leon campaigners have told the Luton News that the father-of-two’s family were told by police that the memorial would be downsized and not removed.

Following a meeting on May 29 all that remains of the shrine is a small poster and two candle containers.

J4L’s Liberty Louise said: “We find the police’s actions insensitive and unwarranted, and Leons family feel that the police simply want to erase his memory and what may or may not have happened to him during his contact with police officers.

The remainder of the memorial for Leon Briggs, pictured on June 9

The remainder of the memorial for Leon Briggs, pictured on June 9

“The argument that the memorial site was a terrorist threat is unevidenced, in particular in relation to the fact that despite vigils and protests, there has not been one incident of unrest or violence or a threat to any member of the public or the police.”

Liberty added that campaigners will push for a permanent plaque to be erected at the station.

A Beds Police spokesperson said: “We have been working closely with the family of Leon Briggs around the removal of the memorial outside Luton Police Station which was identified as a potential security risk.

“It was agreed for the family to reduce the size of the memorial and we have offered to discuss a more permanent memorial to Mr Briggs.

“We understand this is obviously a very sensitive subject and appreciate the family’s understanding and support.”