Police busy getting Westside ready to become Tory party’s temporary home

Westside will be firmly in the national spotlight when the annual Conservative Party Conference is held at the International Convention Centre from this weekend.

West Midlands Police has begun a major security operation in the area around the ICC ahead of the conference which starts on Sunday 2 October and continues until Wednesday 5 October.

More than 11,000 delegates are expected to visit Birmingham throughout the course of the conference.

Police said additional officers will be carrying out “high visibility” patrols in the vicinity of the ICC, in Centenary Square, with armed officers also on patrol during the event.

Chief Superintendent Phil Dolby, who is leading the security operation, said: “We’re proud to be able to play our part in this event and are confident that we will provide a safe and secure environment for all those who attend the conference and for everyone who lives and works in Birmingham.”

Watch West Midlands Police video of Chief Superintendent Phil Dolby explaining the operation here:

West Midlands Poplice added that the security operation had been months in the planning and involved working closely with Birmingham City Council, the ICC, and Hyatt Regency Birmingham hotel, as well as other partners.

The operation began by making the ICC and Hyatt Regency “secure” ahead of the start of the conference, which involves a number of road restrictions (see map).

Bridge Street and Cambridge Street (between Civic Close and Brindley Drive) will be closed from Tuesday 27 September, with Broad Street also closed between Gas Street and Paradise Circus from Wednesday 28 September, until Thursday 6 October – the day after the conference ends.

Nearby residents and businesses have been sent a letter explaining how they will be affected by the security operation. The information is also available on the city council website.

Motorists have been urged to allow extra time for their journey if travelling into the city centre, particularly in view of the planned strikes by train drivers on Saturday 1 October and Wednesday 5 October.

Westside BID general manager, Mike Olley, said: “We very much welcome the decision of the Conservative Party to hold their annual conference on our doorstep.

“The ICC is a world-class facility and we are looking forward over the coming days to hosting the thousands of delegates and visitors to the conference, all of whom are guaranteed a first-class service from our many hospitality venues.”

Chief Superintendent Dolby added: “I want to stress that there has been no specific intelligence received relating to a threat to the conference and everything we are doing is as a precaution.

“Members of the public are our eyes and ears on the ground in the city and I’d remind anyone who sees anything suspicious or that causes concern to speak to one of our officers or call 101 as soon as possible.”

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