POLICE are investigating comments posted on social media about asylum seekers staying in temporary accommodation at a York hotel.

North Yorkshire Police tweeted that ‘hate crime’ would not be tolerated and it was concerned about some social media posts relating to asylum seekers housed in the York area. “We are looking into the issue and stand committed to stopping hate speech,” it added.

The Home Office said it took the wellbeing of asylum seekers and the local communities in which they lived extremely seriously. “On the rare occasions that there are problems in a local area, we will always work closely with the relevant authorities to address the issue,” said a spokesman.

“Hate crime has absolutely no place in our society and we have a zero tolerance approach towards attempts to undermine our tolerance and respect for each other.”

Their comments came as it emerged that two asylum seekers have been arrested on suspicion of affray at the hotel where they are staying. North Yorkshire Police said two men, both aged 19, had been released on conditional bail while inquiries continued, and another man, aged 24, had been arrested on suspicion of assault and affray following an incident at Clifton Moor Retail Park, and released on conditional bail while inquiries continued.

A York council official has revealed that the organisation responsible for the asylum seekers’ accommodation was making arrangements to relocate four to alternative locations outside York, staffing levels had been increased at the hotel and police had increased visits to Clifton Moor.

The official added: “I would also like to make it clear that these incidents are not representative of the new residents as a whole.The vast majority of the new residents are people looking to make a better life for themselves and have conducted themselves very well within their new surroundings even with the additional pressures from covid19 restrictions. These incidents will be of great concern to them too.”

York has been a ‘City of Sanctuary’ since 2015. The council said earlier this month it was offering a safe refuge to up to 90 asylum seekers affected by movement restrictions due to Covid-19, in temporary accommodation provided while awaiting asylum claim decisions.