Birmingham Pride largely a success, despite police investigation of two homophobic incidents

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Police are treating as homophobic two incidents that took place at an otherwise successful and peaceful Birmingham Pride over the weekend.

Huge crowds turned out for the annual festival over the weekend. There were only a handful of arrests over Saturday and Sunday for minor alcohol-related disorder and one for possession of an offensive weapon.  Officers also issued several section 27 ‘Direction to Leave’ notices, which direct a person to leave an area for a specified time where officers believe they may become involved in alcohol related-disorder.

Despite tens of thousands of people descending on the Gay Village around Hurst Street, the event experienced mainly low levels of crime. However, officers are continuing to investigate an incident of verbal abuse and an assault, both of which are believed to be homophobic.

Inspector Andy Bridgewater, who oversaw the policing of Pride, said: “It’s fantastic to have been able to police and take part in an event that is so positive for the LGBT community and for the city of Birmingham. Although the weekend was relatively trouble-free, it’s a shame that a small minority decided to come and cause problems. We’re treating both homophobic incidents extremely seriously and this sort of behaviour only serves to reinforce the message of what Birmingham Pride is all about – celebrating our diversity.

“We won’t tolerate people being targeted because of their sexual orientation or gender identity, but people must have confidence to report hate crime to us. I’m encouraged by the levels of engagement that we have had from all sectors of the community over the weekend and it’s important to stress that only by working together are we able to tackle hate crime effectively.”