HC 1456 Home Affairs CommitteeCorrespondence from National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People UK

I am the Chair of the Birmingham Bureau of National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People UK (NAACP UK); we are a Civil Rights Group. I notice with interest that your committee is currently involved with an enquiry into the Birmingham Riots. We have been following the enquiry. We notice that the evidence given by West Midlands Police with dismay and some confusion. The Police claim that they had no warning or reasonable suspicion that a riot of this magnitude was about to erupt.

I find this hard to understand as my organisation; in common with several groups operating in the Handsworth area had been warning the authorities of the severe unrest in the Handsworth and Newtown area of Birmingham for quite a few years. Our Group became aware of the problems in the Handsworth area after community unrest over the closure of the Mohammed Ali Centre, which the World Famous Boxer had presented to the Handsworth Community as a centre for all communities to use.

As recently as a month before the riots, I attended a public meeting in Balsall Heath, which is a town in the Hall Green Constituency of Birmingham. Mr Clegg, the Deputy Prime Minister and Baroness Warsi were in attendance. Members of the NAACP UK were in attendance, both I and my wife warned Mr Clegg that present Government policy was severely affecting Birmingham and there was a danger of a return to the problems of the l980’s where Birmingham saw severe riots and public disorder. He refused to listen to our concerns, pointing out that we were members of the Labour Party, and that he wasn’t prepared to take advice from anyone in the Labour Party or anyone from the political Left.

Had he listened even at this stage an emergency COBRA meeting could have been called, this item could have been placed on the agenda, and had advice been listened to we could be looking at a totally different situation today.

Members of NAACP UK are prepared if required, to attend your committee to enter these facts as evidence.

September 2011

Prepared 22nd December 2011