City's One Voice partnership statement on Westminster incident
Following the incident in Westminster yesterday, the city’s One Voice partnership has today (Thursday 23 March) reaffirmed its commitment for Brighton & Hove’s ‘city values’ based on pluralism, equality, fairness and respect for all.
One Voice brings together the council and Sussex Police with the city’s communities, faiths groups and minorities tackling racism, intolerance and extremism.
Geoff Raw, Chief Executive, Brighton & Hove City Council and Chair of One Voice, said: “Yesterday’s incident outside of the Houses of Parliament has shocked and saddened us all. We send our deepest sympathies to the families of those who have lost lives, those who have been injured, and all affected communities.”
Anthea Ballam, secretary of the Interfaith Contact Group, said: “Representing the many faiths in our city, we’re deeply sorrowful about the tragic incident in London yesterday. We stand firm that these acts of violence and hate must not go any further. We must look out and care for each other and ensure that individuals and communities are not singled out in our city.”
The Chair of the Racial Harassment Forum Mahir Chowdhury summed up the city’s ethos. He said: “We do not tolerate violence against innocent people, wherever it takes place. We as communities, council, and police stand together and speak with one voice against extremist perspectives and actions in the city and elsewhere. It’s now even more important for all our communities to demonstrate that we will not let any terrorist action divide us and continue our great tradition of unity and respect for all."
Sabri Ben-Ameur, vice chair of the Brighton & Hove Muslim Forum, said: “We strongly condemn these assaults on innocent people. Terrorism has no place in any society and we will continue to pray for the victims and their families. Our thoughts are also with the family of the late PC Keith Palmer. His bravery and the response of the police and emergency services are to be commended.”
Chair of the LGBT Community Safety Forum Billie Lewis said: “We stand together in solidarity in our response to yesterday’s assault on people going about their daily lives. Our LGBTQ community is made up of diverse and different people. We understand, particularly in times of anger and shock, that our difference is one of our greatest strengths. We recognise that compassion, communication and increasing trust between communities is the best way to tackle these collective threats to our safety.”
The threat level from terrorism to the UK remains unchanged at ‘Severe’, meaning an attack is highly likely. This has remained constant since August 2014 and has not changed following the incident outside the Houses of Parliament yesterday. The police and other agencies continue to work to keep the public safe.
Co-operation between the public and the police is the greatest asset in tackling the challenge the UK faces from terrorism. Sussex Police and Brighton & Hove City Council are asking all residents and communities to remain aware and to report any suspicious behaviour or activity immediately by calling the confidential anti-terrorist hotline on 0800 789 321 or 999 in an emergency. You can also report online to Sussex Police at sussex.police.uk/contact-us/report-online.
One Voice members urge everyone to be aware and are encouraging residents and communities to report any racist, religiously motivated or other hate incidents within our communities. Please report hate incidents at www.safeinthecity.info/getting-help/racist-incidents
For further information and support, go to www.safeinthecity.info/getting-help/preventing-terrorism-and-extremism or www.gov.uk/ACT .