BIRMINGHAM PUB BOMBING FAMILIES AND SUPPORTERS TO CHALLENGE WEST MIDLANDS POLICE ISSUING OF PENALTY NOTICES FOLLOWING ANNIVERSARY CONVOY OF REMEMBRANCE.
KRW LAW LLP (KRW) is instructed by ten of the families of those killed in The Birmingham Pub Bombings 1974. The 21 November 2020 saw another anniversary of the Birmingham Pub Bombings and out of respect and in solidarity for those that have been tragically bereaved by Covid-19, the service and acts of remembering were cancelled.
However, on the cancellation of these acts of remembering, supporters of the Justice for the 21 (J421) Campaign Group contacted Julie Hambleton in large numbers to offer genuine support and offered to organise a carefully planned convoy on the 21 November 2020 as a substitute to the annual important act of remembering.
J421 and the main organiser of the Convoy of Remembrance worked extensively with a specialist team from the West Midlands Police (WMP), Ops Events, Planning and Tasking Operations Department to ensure traffic disruption was at a minimum and most importantly and at this time to ensure compliance with the Health Protection (Coronavirus Restrictions) (England) Regulations 2020. A route for the Convoy of Remembrance was agreed as well as other operational matters and marshals were on hand to assist the convoy.
Once the convoy reached the WMP, Lloyd House, a number of people from the convoy had started to gather. At this point Julie Hambleton went to the small gathering who were wearing masks and distancing appropriately, to assist in the immediate dispersal and to thank them for taking time out of their busy lives to support the act of remembering.
Subsequently WMP issued six penalty notices on the basis that the convoy and the meeting breached the Health Protection (Coronavirus Restrictions) (England) Regulations 2020. Failure to pay the penalty could lead to prosecution.
KRW wrote to the Chief Constable Sir Dave Thompson requesting that he review the processes and procedures which informed the decision to issue these penalty notices and to annul them on the basis that the actions of those we represent were in accordance with the regulations and that the convoy of remembrance was a well-planned event which attracted a large number of disciplined participants.
WMP have now responded to our representations and have confirmed that criminal proceedings to enforce the penalty notices will continue.
Those we represent who have received these penalty notices question the efficacy of the actions of the WMP in relation to the sensitivities around the pub bombings whilst respecting the need to protect the public health of the community at this time of pandemic.