The Neighbourhood Forum’s protests to the Chief Constable, copied to others, have produced the response below:
“West Midlands Police are confident in our ability to keep the streets of Birmingham city centre safe for everyone.
As we have shown at previous events to the satisfaction and praise of the city’s communities, we are committed to facilitating peaceful protest.
But equally our previous policing of such events has shown that individuals or members of any group who threaten the safety of the public will be swiftly identified and prosecuted.
The ability to protest is a fundamental democratic right and one we are in no position to make any political or moral judgement about.
Any attempt to ban a moving march – as distinct from a static protest – would never be undertaken lightly.
Although it is one option, there are many other powers open to the police to restrict the conditions of a protest, which is what intelligence currently suggests will be the case.
At this stage we believe two groups intend to protest peacefully, and would urge those seeking to use the situation to commit criminal acts to think carefully about their involvement.
An application to ban a march would only be sought if new information dictates a change in the tactics of West Midlands Police and our partners in the coming days.
A banning order has been successfully sought by a smaller force, but our capability and readiness to deal with any incident is far greater.
The safety and security of our communities is paramount and that, backed by all the information available to us, will be at the heart of our decision-making process. ”
This message was passed to me by Chief Superintendant Andy Nicholson, commander of the City Centre operational unit. He adds that “I am working hard to ensure we minimise disruption to the city and central to this is putting controls in place that would prevent the space outside Bullring being used as a meeting point.”
Chair, City Centre Neighbourhood Forum