Birmingham & Black Country

Birmingham MP told heckling 'not like Cologne'

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Media captionJess Phillips MP: "Women are baited and heckled" in UK

The risk facing female revellers in Birmingham cannot be compared to the Cologne sex assaults, according to a police commander.

Superintendent Andy Parsons said there was no statistical evidence to compare attacks in Cologne on New Year's Eve to nights out in Birmingham.

Jess Phillips, Labour MP for Birmingham Yardley, said women on the city's Broad Street were "baited and heckled".

Mr Parsons said it was "something we simply don't know is taking place".

The police commander for Central Birmingham said: "There are numerous opportunities and points at which people could report such conduct.

"And I think that's the important point - that we would urge people if they have been subjected to that to do so.

"The fact is we're not seeing that come forward."

"Baited and heckled"

More than 800 women reported being sexually assaulted or robbed during Cologne's New Year celebrations.

Latest figures from West Midlands Police show that, in the past 12 weeks, five serious sexual assaults have been reported in Broad Street.

Image copyright Google
Image caption Around eight million people visit Broad Street every year, said West Midlands Police

Inspector Gareth Morris said: "Like any city centre we have issues linked to people out drinking, but the types of attacks reported in Germany are a million miles away from anything my team encounters in Birmingham."

Ms Phillips - who said she had not reported attacks and "learnt to live with it" - faced widespread criticism after her comments on Thursday's BBC Question Time.

She was speaking during a debate about how many refugees should be allowed into Britain, in which an audience member suggested events in Cologne - said to have been carried out by migrants - proved mass immigration did not work.

She told the audience: "A very similar situation to what happened in Cologne could be describing Broad Street in Birmingham every week, where women are baited and heckled."

Defending her comments, Ms Phillips told the Birmingham Mail: "Every woman I have spoken to this morning has said 'yes, I've had bad experiences'."

And she added: "I bet you if you were to look through the back catalogues of your newspaper, you could find incidents of people being dragged into taxis in every night spot in Birmingham."

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