Police and Crime Commissioner Tony Lloyd has praised community cohesion in Rochdale.
Tony made the comments at a special Question Time-style event which brought together representatives from three main faiths – Christianity, Islam and Hinduism as well as the leader of the council, Colin Lambert.
The lively event, at Castlemere Community Centre in the town, was well attended by local residents who were able to quiz the faith leaders on all aspects of belief.
Speaking at the event, Tony said: “Rochdale has a strong sense of community and that’s something we should all celebrate. The town has seen some shocks in recent years, but the reaction of the vast majority of people here has been to come together and build stronger and safer communities.
“Rochdale represents that great British tradition of sharing and respect. I’m proud of that aspect of our society – and I’m proud that Rochdale represents that so well.
“But it’s hard work to maintain that stability so we must always be vigilant. We should celebrate the fact we live in a tolerant, safe part of the world, but we can’t take it for granted. It is a precious thing that we have to work every day to maintain, particularly as there are those who would seek to drive us apart.”
Tony also paid tribute to murdered solider Lee Rigby, whose family lives in Middleton and praised all communities in the town who had come together to unite in grief for him.
He also spoke of his ambition to see better representation in Greater Manchester Police from all the diverse communities that make up the conurbation.
The event was organised by Rochdale’s Multi-Faith Partnership as part of a regular series of events to draw people together in the town.
Tony will be back in Rochdale on Tuesday 18 June for the next in a series of public meetings.