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West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson, has praised the people of Birmingham for the peaceful nature of demonstrations in the city yesterday, but has warned that  the government and regional leaders need to put in place a comprehensive package of support for young people.

At the West Midlands virtual press conference this afternoon, Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson will say:

“Yesterday Birmingham spoke with one voice, there was a peaceful demonstration of thousands of people from all backgrounds. The points made were clear and correct, it is now down to us to respond positively.

“Events in America are influencing events and what happened to George Floyd was horrific. It saddened me, but made me angry too. President Trump’s reaction has only inflamed underlying tensions. 

“Whilst events in America are important, there are clearly also underlying tensions and injustices here too. Despite years of reform, some improvements and a huge amount of scrutiny, stop and search and the use of force is still disproportionate towards some communities.

“In the coming weeks I’ll be shining a light on those issues, highlighting the wrongs and disproportionalities to drive change and try to build confidence through transparency. I’ll be holding the Chief Constable to account at my next public board meeting on these issues and I want the public to get in touch with me and let me know what questions they want answered.

“There are other underlying, systemic issues that need to be tackled and they require all of us to work together on.

“For several weeks now I have been warning about the ticking timebomb of youth unemployment and the implications this will have on young people. I am worried that it will have a disproportionate impact on BAME communities if action isn’t taken by the government. I am worried that if the government doesn’t put together a wide ranging package of support and opportunities for young people, as well as committing to work with us on systemic inequalities, tensions could boil over and we could be facing a Summer of unrest.

“That means job subsidies, apprenticeship guarantees and a real focus on youth work and support for young people. The time for warm words has passed, we need real action on this. We owe our young people nothing less.”

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