Colors: Blue Color

Recruitment targeted at people from Black, Asian and Multi Ethnic (BAME) background could “change the face of the West Midlands Police force, bosses have said.

West Midlands Police & Crime Commissioner, David Jamieson said that 1,000 BAME officers will be recruited over the next three years.

He said that the force, currently 11% BAME, should reflect an area where about 30% of people are BAME.

Recent anti-racism demonstrations have highlighted issues between police in the UK and the BAME community.

Following Black Lives Matter protesters recently gathering outside the West Midlands Police headquarters, in Birmingham, the force is being investigated over the high number of complaints made relating to the over-excessive force it uses against Black men.

Asked, why, after nearly six years in office, he chose now to announce his commitment Jamieson said that cuts to police had prohibited large-scale recruitment.

Now, with funding for 20,000 police officers from the Home Office, he said: “We have got a much better opportunity to make a real change”.

Chair of West Midlands Police’s Black and Asian Federation, Karen Geddes, said that it was a positive statement.

“It’s a good number to put out there, I’d like to see how”, she said. “How is he going to do that, what is the strategy behind it, what are we going to do if we don’t achieve it?”

Being the second biggest force in England, West Midlands Police has 6,495 officers.

The 1,000 new BAME officers will be among 2,750 recruits which, after replacing those leaving the force, will mean 1,200 new police officers.

 Pedestrians, who are believed to be anti-racism demonstrators, blocked the M6 motorway following a protest in Coventry, in the West Midlands.

Police said that a group of people walked between Junctions 3 and 2, in Warwickshire, which led to the closure of the road there.

It came on the day of a series of demonstrations which have been sparked by the murder of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man, by police officers in Minneapolis, in the US.

Also, about 1,000 people gathered in Wolverhampton to air their grievances at a Black Lives Matter protest there.

Meanwhile, in Bristol, a statue of a slave trader was torn down by protesters, and thrown into the harbour during a second day of anti-racism and police murders that is still carried out in the UK.

It follows demonstrations that took place in Edinburgh, Belfast, London, Cornwall, and other parts of Britain over the weekend.

Sandwell Council is inviting applications from local businesses for a new COVID-19 support grant.
 
The council in the West Midlands has £3.362m from the government’s Discretionary Business Grant Fund to allocate to local businesses.
 
This funding is specifically to support small and micro businesses with high fixed property costs which are not eligible for the other Small Business and Retail, Hospitality & Leisure support grant schemes.
 
Because it is a discretionary scheme, the criteria used to determine which businesses will get a grant is set by the Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy and a panel of council officers and local business experts.
 
Businesses should apply via the council’s online form:

my.sandwell.gov.uk/service/Local_Authority_Discretionary_Business_Support_Grant
 
If they meet the eligibility criteria, their application will be assessed by the panel.
 
Users will need a MySandwell account and be logged in to complete the form.
 
The fund is cash-limited, so grants will be given out on a ‘first come first served’ basis, we therefore urge businesses to get their applications in as soon as possible.
 
Sandwell Council has designed a local scheme with specific criteria which will help identify and prioritise which companies will be likely to receive the available funding.
 
Councillor Wasim Ali, Sandwell Council Deputy Leader, said: “We want to use this fund to help as many Sandwell businesses as we can and I would urge anyone who thinks they may be eligible for this grant to look on the website as soon as possible.
 
“We are mindful that the funding is limited, which could mean demand is higher than availability – so do get your applications in early.”
 
Small businesses are defined as:

Having a turnover of no more than £10.2m
Having a balance sheet total of no more than £5.1m
Employing no more than 50 people

Micro businesses are defined as:

Having a turnover of no more than £632,000
Having a balance sheet total of no more than £316,000
Employing no more than 10 people

Further information regarding this grant funding is available on the Think Sandwell website www.thinksandwell.com/contact/ or via e-mail at  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

A senior Imam has made the advised that mosques should not open until they can hold congregational prayers, despite UL government plans for places of worship.

The government is expected to announce that churches, mosques and synagogues in England can open their doors for private prayer from June 15.

But as mosques are primarily for congregational prayers, Muslim leaders have warned that the plans do lack clarity.

Imam Qari Asim said that opening them would “cause far more challenges”.

Full services and weddings will still be banned under the present measures, which Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to outline to the Cabinet.

In Northern Ireland, private worships are already allowed, whilst in Scotland and Wales, those practises are not allowed to be carried out.

As chair of the Mosque & Imams National Advisory Board, Imam Asim called on mosques and some other places of worship not to reopen until it is safe to do so and they are able to hold congregational prayers.

He said: “The fundamental difference between mosques and some other places of worship is that mosques are first and foremost used for congregational prayers.

“Individual prayers can be carried out anywhere, primarily at home. Accordingly, opening mosques on June 15 will cause more challenges, for mosques and imams, as the expectations from the community will be to the safety of everyone”.

The Church of England has said that a ruling by one of its diocesan courts that an Irish epitaph must have an English translation “does not reflect” its national policy.

Caroline Newey’s mother is buried in grounds owed by St Giles’ Church, Exhall, near Coventry.

She wanted the headstone inscription to read; (“In our hearts forever”).

But a judge ruled that it may be seen “as a political statement”.

Margret Keane died suddenly two years ago, survived by her husband Bernie.

Both had been born in the Republic of Ireland, but made their lives in the UK.

The family said that it had been battling for two years to have the gravestone of their choice at the Meadows in Ash Green, in Coventry.

In his judgment for the consistory court of the Dioceses of Coventry, Judge Stephen Eyre QC, found that there was “a sad risk that the phase would be regarded as some form of slogan” and would be “unintelligible to all but a small minority of readers”.

In this instance, the church said that would be the Arches Court of Canterbury.

The statement said that the Irish language has played a central role in the advancement of Christianity in England.

It said: “The Irish language is an important part of the heritage of the Church of England.

“It was, after all, Irish speaking monks in Lindisfarne and beyond who played a central role in establishing the Church in what is now England”.

Mrs Keane’s family said that both she and her husband were proud of their Irish heritage and had been active in the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) – Ireland’s largest sporting organisation.

Alongside the Irish inscription on the gravestone, they also wanted to include a Celtic Cross and the GAA emblem.

Initially, the parochial church council of St Giles supported the proposed memorial by a vote of six to five with seven abstentions, but noted that there were no comparable stones in the graveyard.

The Diocesan Advisory Committee did not recommend approval.

Caroline Newey accepted a compromise that the Celtic Cross could be inscribed on the stone, rather than being carved out of it.

However, there was no agreement on the Irish inscription.

 

A mural situated in a prominent spot in the Black Country, in the West Midlands, has been spotted with the artwork paying tribute to Captain Sir Thomas Moore who raised more than £30m for the NHS as well as a tribute to the armed forces and the heroic efforts of the National Health Service..

Based in Rowley Regis, it is painted on wall which belongs to Brookfleet taxis and The Little Beech pub, both owned by local couple Richard Wade and Mandy Wade. 
 
Their daughter, Kiera Wade is the licensee of The Little Beech pub and commissioned the artwork. She said: "We took the pub on last September and worked really hard, not just on the interior of the pub but to clear the wasteland that was located in front where the mural now stands. 
 
"We wanted something eye-catching and to lift the spirits of the locals in these difficult times. 
 
"Our children were so excited about the idea, they donated some of their pocket money to buy paints for the mural.
 
"We are blessed to have the talented Lynsey Marshall do such a wonderful job and we hope it will be admired for many years to come by the people of Blackheath."
 
Local tattoo artist Lynsey Marshall and her son Jasper worked on the mural in the evenings to avoid curious passers-by. She said: “When I was asked to do the mural, I couldn’t turn it down. It’s a subject close to my heart and I really did enjoy painting it with help from my son Jasper.”
 
Councillor Danny Millard is very impressed at the difference the mural has made to his home town of Blackheath. He said: “This is a fantastic artwork which has really brightened up a corner of Blackheath that was in a bit of a mess before.
 
“This mural has made such a difference and given us something in Blackheath that we can all be really proud of.”