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Police Chief Inaugurates Help Point in Birmingham’s Gay Village




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< Steven Hughes (left), Angela Gilraine (centre) and Sir Paul Scott-Lee cut the pink ribbon to inaugurate the 'help point' in the gay village.

BIRMINGHAM, May 12, 2008  —  “Let’s see if it works,” the Chief Constable of West Midlands Police said once the pink ribbon had been cut to inaugurate an emergency ‘help point’ in Birmingham’s Gay Village.

Pressing the big red button, Sir Paul Scott-Lee only had to wait a few seconds for a voice to ask: “can I help you?”

“This is the Chief Constable, and I just testing to see if it works,” Sir Paul said.

“Yes, it’s working perfectly … and you are looking grand, sir,” came the reply from the police CCTV control centre.

The new emergency ‘help point’ is the first in Birmingham’s Southside where the gay village is located.  And combined with the closed circuit television system, it provides those in the the bustling ‘village that never sleeps’ an added sense of safety.

Steven Hughes, the chief executive of the Birmingham City Council who financed the project, said that the new ‘help point’ will provide reassurance to the community.

He said that the council had worked in partnership with the police and Pink Shield, a new community group in the village that works closely with the police.

“The installation of the help point is an excellent piece of partnership work,” said Angela Gilraine, chair of Pink Shield.

“I hope it will provide extra security for everyone visiting the gay village and encourage people to report all crime, including hate crime, to the police.”

Sir Paul pointed out that today’s Birmingham was a “high energy” city.

“What the help point does is to help make people safe.”

He praised the work done by Pink Shield, a group that really represents the community.

“I have no fears about this new facility being misused,” he said, adding that similar schemes in the country had few instances of misuse.

West Midlands Police are keen to hear the views of the gay community on policing and how safe they feel in the area they live, work or play in.

An anonymous online survey for people to give their views can be found HERE.  See Opinions of Gays, Lesbians Do Matter, Say Police as Survey is Launched


Gay Birmingham 'Travel Page'



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Posted: 12 May 2008 at 20:00 (UK time)



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