Policing the Jewellery Quarter

The local Neighbourhood Policing team have recorded a video to update residents and businesses of the Jewellery Quarter on their priorities and recent action.

This video report is a positive step in the right direction, opening up lines of communications between the police and residents.

I'm especially pleased to see the action taken on traffic and in particular one-way streets. Those living in the Jewellery Quarter and readers of my last FOCUS will know it's a big issue around here. There's still plenty of work to do in this area, but it's good to know a start has been made.

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Reclaim The Night A Success

The first Reclaim The Night march held in Birmingham for over 20 years was a great success, organisers have said. Around 100 women marched through the streets of Ladywood this weekend to protest against rape, male violence and perceived no-go areas of the city. The march began at Five Ways and ended with a rally at the Ladywood Community Centre.

Ladywood was chosen deliberately because it's perceived as a "no-go" area for women after dark. I have written to the local police team to ask what they are doing to tackle the problem.


Reclaim the Night in Ladywood

Reclaim The Night

Birmingham Feminists are holding their first Reclaim The Night march on Saturday 17th October 2009 on the streets of Ladywood.

From their website:

"The march will take us from the top of the city to an area that we feel needs to be ‘reclaimed’ from its reputation as a ‘no go’ area for the women of Birmingham. This event will unite women across the Midlands with women from out of area, to march and take a stand against violence against women, and particularly against the myth that a victim of sexual violence is somehow responsible for their victimisation if they walked home alone at night, or wore revealing clothing, or talked to a man at a bar."

"This is a women only march. We define this as any person who self-defines as a woman. We do feel that men are an extremely important part of the movement. However, there is a symbolism to a women only march for Reclaim The Night that separates it from marches for other causes. This is a HUMAN problem, but it is the collective voice of WOMEN that needs to be heard."

"The march will be followed by a rally with speakers from the Anawim Project, the Women of Allen’s Croft and Sandwell Rape Crisis among others. This rally is free to enter and is a gender mixed event. We will then be holding a fund-raising after party in the city centre with proximity to travel options (also mixed)."


More Violence in Brum – Ban EDL Protests Now

For the third time in three months violence erupted in Birmingham City Centre as a result of the English Defence League protests. The demonstrations, supposedly against "islamic fundamentalism" have instigated counter-demonstrations from Unite Against Fascism. On each occasion the "protests" have attracted both Islamophobes and young Asian lads, with both groups seemingly intent on causing trouble under the banner of free speech.

Yesterday members of the EDL were bussed in from around the country. As I blogged about here and here, leading Liberal Democrats and other leading city figures had called for the protest to be banned. It's now time for Mike Whitby to take a look at what went on in our city and ban these thugs.

West Midlands Police seem to be proclaiming yesterday as a success as violence was "limited" to certain pockets across the city centre away from the main shopping area.

That is outrageous.

The fact violence erupted at several locations in the city including Digbeth and New Street is not a good sign. It shows this went beyond any organised protest. Look at some of the photographs in the media such as the Daily Mail, which shows EDL supporters waving Israeli flags and a sign proclaiming "NO MORE MOSQUES". Rather makes a mockery of EDL's claim that they are a non-racist organisation.

The media coverage has brought shame to the city again and if we are not careful, we will get a reputation for tolerating racism. Momentum is a very dangerous thing - and right now Birmingham has it.

We need a ban on any further EDL protests - and we need it NOW.

UPDATE: You can now sign a petition calling on West Midlands Police and Birmingham City Council to ban future extremist "protests" in the city centre. Enough is enough.