POLICE INVOLVEMENT IN EVICTION
West Midlands Police have issued a statement with regard their involvement in the eviction at the Beechwood Hotel our response is as follows :
We have never stated that WMP forced entry into the building this was done by the bailiffs smashing through the rear fire escape doors.
Officers did enter the building to assist bailiffs with the eviction, they were present in bedrooms and we have video footage of Officers demanding people leave the building and or rooms.
WMP have stated that officers did not use riot Shields, we can confirm that the long full length shield were not used but officers were in possession of round riot shields we have at least one officer photographed with this type of shield, in addition Police Officers were walking around the building with batons drawn.
Police officers only role in this type of proceeding is to prevent a breach of the peace, no resistance whatsoever was given by any occupant. The occupants realised they were outnumbered and out flanked very quickly and left the building without any aggression or resistance. WMP stated they were there in a “Support Capacity” to the bailiffs” THIS IS NOT PART OF THEIR ROLE.
WMP stated they did not remove any person from the property – This is not the caset. They did order people out of the hotel and did push at least 1 person and barge a second with a shield.
If there only function was to prevent a breach of the peace why was there a need for so many officers, why was there a need for them to enter the building, why were officers equipped with shields and why did they form a line across the car park. Bailiffs are the only ones empowered to remove persons and they are normally supported by security staff who will prevent persons re-entering the building.
Following legal advise JNC will make a formal complaint to the Police Authority of abuse of power and abusive and threatening behaviour, together with an assault on one of the occupants. JNC will be taking further legal acton this week.
We would emphasise that not all police officers acted in this way and the local officers who had visited us many times during our occupation were courteous and efficient in their duties. In particular the duty Sgt kindly negotiated for occupants to re-enter the building to allow them to collect personal belongings.