Westminster Column

12th August 2011

During my conversations this week with the Chief Constable and others about policing in Birmingham and specifically risks to Sutton Coldfield I have been greatly reassured at their professionalism and speedy reactions. I hope all my constituents in Sutton can draw comfort from this.

Of course like all of us in Sutton, I am horrified by the terrible scenes of disorder and violence that we have recently witnessed in Birmingham and around the UK.

These disturbances are on a scale that we have not seen in Britain for many years and they are wholly unacceptable in every way.

In Birmingham, not only has the disorder and looting affected the regional economy by an estimated £2.5 million a day but on Tuesday three men were tragically killed in a hit and run in Winson Green. The police will hunt down and bring to justice the perpetrators of this.

No one should be in any doubt that the Government will do everything necessary to restore order to Britain’s streets and make them safe for law abiding citizens. The violence and criminality will be stopped; we will not allow a culture of fear to exist on our streets or in our communities.

As the Prime Minister has said, the police will have access to whatever resources they need, and the legal backing to undertake whatever tactics they decide are appropriate. Baton rounds are already authorised and water cannons are now on standby at 24 hours notice. I understand that every contingency is being looked at in Birmingham and the West Midlands.

Police Officers here and across the country have shown incredible bravery confronting these thugs and throughout the UK hundreds of people have already been arrested – one a minute in the West Midlands on Wednesday afternoon. As officers continue to take statements from witnesses and examine CCTV evidence, further arrests will be made.

The Government is making sure that court procedures and processes are speeded up in order to deal with the perpetrators. Our message is clear: those responsible for the violence and looting will be made to face the consequences of their actions. If they are old enough to commit these crimes, they are certainly old enough to face the punishment.

At the time of writing I am heading down to Parliament which has been recalled in order for the Prime Minister to make a statement and for a Debate to be held in the House of Commons. I will be there to condemn these crimes on behalf of everyone in Sutton Coldfield and to reinforce the Government’s determination to rebuild the communities affected and prevent situations such as this arising again in the future.

What is clear is that we will not surrender to such criminality, thuggery and mindless selfishness. Birmingham and the West Midlands will remain open for business, this week hosting over 100,000 people at the newly renovated Edgbaston for the England-Indian cricket test – representing all that is good in our area.

The Government is taking every action necessary to bring order back to our streets and it is important that the local business and civic communities unite to help us eradicate and recover from these setbacks.

West Midlands Police have a number of CCTV images from locations across Birmingham city centre of people they wish to trace. To view the photos visit http://www.west-midlands.police.uk/latestnews/majoroperations/operationv.... Anyone who recognises any of the individuals in the images is urged to ring 0800 096 0095.