Police arrest suspected Birmingham city centre flash mob organisers in dawn raids

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Three men were arrested and a dispersal order issued for Birmingham city centre to prevent a flash mob event which was being organised on social media

Police made three arrests and issued a dispersal order in Birmingham city centre to prevent a flash mob taking place.

The event was due to take place yesterday (May 19), but police stepped in amid fears it could result in disorder like a similar event in August 2022. During that flash mob event, which attracted 500 people, Bullring stores were damaged and six people were arrested.

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Officers made dawn swoops on Friday, arresting an 18 year-old man and two men aged 19 from addresses across Birmingham on suspicion of organising the flash mob. They are currently being held in custody on suspicion of conspiracy to cause public nuisance.

The section 35 dispersal order across the city centre was issued yesterday to be in place for 24 hours. This means that police have extra powers to disperse people from the city, if they have reasonable grounds to suspect they are present to engage in crime or disorder.

A West Midlands Police spokesperson said: “It will allow us to keep people who visit the city safe and to make sure that people are coming into our city for the right reason. There will be extra officers patrolling the city centre to make sure that the event does not go ahead and to ensure the safety of businesses and visitors.”

Detective Superintendent Jim Munro, added: “ We’ve taken action today to prevent the chance of disorder and anti-social behaviour. Acting on intelligence that we’ve gathered, we’ve made arrests and we hope this sends a strong message to people who feel they can use our city to cause disruption.

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“We know how disruptive large gatherings can be and we work with partners to ensure organised events meet licensing standards, minimise disruption and are safe. However, when the event does not meet these standards and is aimed at causing maximum disruption, we will take action to ensure the safety of our visitors, workers and businesses to the city.”