An on-duty police officer suffered fractured ribs in an attack the force is treating as a homophobic assault.
The officer was responding to reports of an altercation involving a man and a woman on Hurst Street, in Birmingham’s Gay Village, on New Year’s Eve (31 December, 2021) at around 8pm.
During the altercation, the female neighbourhood officer was left with fractured ribs.
A woman was arrested on suspicion of assaulting an emergency worker. The 31-year-old is also suspected of a hate-related public order offence, having allegedly aimed homophobic abuse at the officer.
The suspect has been released under investigation while inquiries continue.
West Midlands Police said in a statement:
“An attack on a police officer is unacceptable whatever the circumstances.”
“Our staff work tirelessly to protect the public and help those in their time of need.”
The latest incident follows a wave of anti-LGBTQ+ crimes in the city; in August two men were beaten with bottles in Birmingham’s gay village, then in October another attack nearly left a man blind, that same month John-Paul Kessler was holding hands with a male pal when he was attacked by a bottle to the head.
At the time, Labour MP for Birmingham Ladywood (where the Gay Village is situated), Shabana Mahmood, publicly condemned the attacks in a tweet saying: “Deeply concerned to learn of another attack on a member of Birmingham’s LGBT+ community near Hurst Street. There is no space for this type of hatred in our city.”
West Midlands Police have reportedly commissioned new £200,000 support funding for victims of hate crime after a rise in anti-LGBT attacks in the city, which includes increased patrols in the Gay Village.
In a joint statement, the West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner Simon Foster, the Mayor of the West Midlands Andy Street and the Leader of Birmingham City Council Cllr Ian Ward, said: “The recent abhorrent, vicious homophobic attacks in Birmingham disgust the three of us in equal measure.”
“For someone to be assaulted because of who they are or who they love is simply not acceptable.
“But hate will not win and our message to the homophobes is that they do not represent Birmingham, and they never will. Everyone has a right to feel safe on our streets, no matter where they are, day or night.”
In October 2021, Dozens of people took to the streets of Birmingham to protest the spate of homophobic attacks in the city.
Saima Razzaq, from Birmingham Pride, said at the time “We don’t want to alienate people, we don’t want to brandish one community homophobic or transphobic – we live in this society, we all live together and we’ve got to work together to put our differences aside and say no to hate.”
Full statement from PCC @SimonFoster4PCC, @MayorWestMids and @BrumLeader following recent homophobic attacks in the #Birmingham Gay Village.— WestMidsPCC (@WestMidsPCC) October 14, 2021
Hate and violence directed at LGBTQ+ people won't be tolerated in the city or the region. pic.twitter.com/Jls7vcPtiz