Arrests made at Birmingham Covid-19 gathering breach
A number of arrests have been made following a planned protest in Birmingham city centre today (16 January).
Yesterday, we warned members of the public against attending the protest as this was unlawful under the new Covid regulations, sadly nearly 150 people chose to ignore our pleas and still turned up.
We spoke to those in attendance and asked them to move on as they could not offer us a reasonable excuse as to why they were in breach of national lockdown restrictions.
Despite engaging with the people, explaining what was expected of them and encouraging them to move on, some did not listen.
We therefore had to enforce the rules and have so far issued three fixed penalty notices and made 11 arrests. They have been taken into police custody.
Chief Superintendent Kim Madill, who oversaw the event, said: “Although under normal circumstances we accept and protect people’s right to protest, under current legislation, attending a protest is not considered an exception to leaving your house and is unlawful.
“We advised people not to attend, and although some people listened, a large amount chose to ignore our pleas and put the safety of themselves and others at risk.
“We always seek to speak with the people who are suspected of being in breach of the regulations, but when people are not working with us or listening to our instructions, then we must enforce the rules and arrest people where appropriate.
“We need to keep our communities safe and although the group have mostly now dispersed, we will continue to monitor the area.
“We would like to thank businesses in the city centre that supported today’s operation and the majority of the public, who were not involved in the protest that were complying with covid regulations.”
Officers on routine patrols around Birmingham city centre also issued 25 fixed penalty notices to members of the public failing to follow the rules.
Finally, we are aware of a video circulating on social media showing arrests from today’s protest. It has been reviewed and we’re satisfied our officers acted proportionately.
We again seek to remind members of the public of the current Government lockdown restrictions, which are in force throughout England, which can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/national-lockdown-stay-at-home