PCC and Chief Constable statement on school protests
Chief Constable Dave Thompson said: "In recent months some
Birmingham primary schools have been subject to protests by parents
concerning the schools' curriculum on equality. These protests have
resulted in an ongoing protest outside Anderton Park Primary
School. These protests have, to date, been lawful.
"West Midlands Police has been discharging our duty to maintain
the public peace and where criminal offences are identified to act.
In the last 24 hours, a number of criminal offences have taken
place that the force will investigate and seek to bring people to
Chief Constable Dave Thompson
"As a citizen of this city, I have observed these protests and
the rhetoric around them with increasing concern. West Midlands
Police values and celebrates the diversity of this area. We believe
the strength of this city is in tolerant and diverse communities.
This week I will march with LGBT staff and communities in
Birmingham Pride and next week I will fast with Muslim colleagues
and communities as they mark Ramadan. Both are possible to
celebrate and respect in this amazing and diverse city. Sadly this
is not the image of Birmingham that these events are projecting
around the country and the world.
"It is very important all those involved in the dispute at
Anderton Park recognise the adverse impact this is having on the
reputation of the city, broader cohesion and most importantly the
children at this school. Views are entrenching with a determination
to win this argument. This is creating an environment where those
who seek division will have cause to celebrate and to exploit.
Frankly a primary school is no place for the continuance of a large
scale protest, however lawful.
"In this holy period of Ramadan, and as we celebrate Pride in
our city, I urge those involved and those who can influence these
events to think again and consider how they can come together to
discuss these strongly held views and bring this protest to an
"West Midlands Police cannot solve this problem but we will
support all involved in seeking a dialogue and a solution. Equally,
we will act where people see to exploit these matters and break the
Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson is supporting the
work of West Midlands Police and said: "Teachers should be free to
get on with teaching a full curriculum, that highlights and
explains Britain's full diversity without fear of protests or
threats. All forms of equality are equally important.
"As a former head teacher, I understand full well that schools
need to work with parents and would encourage productive dialogue
"I must emphasise though that protests and threats have no place
outside of the school gates and where there is evidence of
criminality the police will be investigating thoroughly."