Britain First are planning to hold a demonstration in Birmingham city centre on Saturday 24 June – like any other political party they are allowed to legitimately protest.
West Midlands Police recognises the impact such demonstrations can have on the city and local people however there are no police powers to ban a static peaceful protest. In fact, along with the local authority, police have a duty to facilitate the fundamental democratic right of peaceful protest.
The force will continue to work closely with local communities to address their concerns in light of recent events in London.
Chief Supt Steve Graham, who is in charge of the policing operation on Saturday, said: “We are planning to keep disruption for those who live, work or plan to visit Birmingham on Saturday to a minimum, while ensuring a safe and peaceful event for all concerned. For us, it’s a case of business as usual.
“As a force we are really experienced in accommodating and preparing for such events having run police operations around similar protests across the force – the most recent of which have passed off without incident.
“We are speaking with Britain First organisers who recognise it is in the group’s best interests to have their say in a peaceful manner. They haven’t been able to confirm the exact number of protestors but we expect there will be fewer than 200 and the proposed meeting point is Centenary Square.”
He continued: “Our understanding is that there will be a counter demonstration in The Eastside area of the city near Millennium Point. Ensuring there is no crossover of those with opposing views, and minimising the risk of any potential flashpoints, is a key element of our event planning.
“Trained police negotiators have been in regular contact with both the Britain First and counter demonstrators to identify their intentions and stress the importance that their members protest peacefully. However, we will have a highly visible police presence on the ground and sufficient police resources on standby should there be any need to deploy extra officers.”
Source:: West Midlands Police News