Shropshire Star

Police confirm nobody was arrested at Tommy Robinson demo and counter-protest in Telford

Police have thanked the public for their patience as they confirmed two demonstrations in Telford passed off peacefully and with no arrests.

Hundreds of supporters of Tommy Robinson turned out for the demonstration in Telford

Saturday saw hundreds of people attending a protest led by far-right activist Tommy Robinson held in Telford's town centre.

The demonstration was met by a counter-protest organised by Stand Up to Racism Telford and Shropshire and Telford Trades Union Council.

Mr Robinson, whose real name is Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, had organised the event to host a screening of his documentary looking at the issue of CSE in Telford.

Mr Robinson led a march from the town's railway station to a car park next to Malinsgate Police Station, saying that his supporters were there to "stand with survivors of grooming gangs".

Counter-protestors accused the founder of the English Defence League of bringing hatred and division to the town.

A film made by Tommy Robinson was shown on a big screen in Telford

Speaking following the demonstrations, Superintendent Jamie Dunn from West Mercia Police said: “I would like to thank our local communities across Telford, local businesses and retailers and those visiting the town centre for their support and understanding."

He added that there had not "any significant incidents of disorder or any arrests".

The force has also urged victims of child sexual exploitation – or those impacted by the content of the documentary – to contact them.

Supt Dunn said all offences will be investigated, regardless of when they took place.

He said: "We recognise the content of the documentary may cause people to reflect on their own experiences and they may, as a result, wish to speak to us about these.

"I would encourage anyone who has been sexually exploited to contact us.

A counter-protest took place opposite the gathering

"Regardless of when the offences took place we will investigate them.

"We have specially-trained officers who understand the complex and sensitive nature of child sexual exploitation who will ensure those who have been affected receive necessary support."

Supt Dunn said there is also support available to those who are victims but do not want to pursue criminal proceedings.

It comes as an independent inquiry into CSE in Telford is expected to report its findings in the spring.

Supt Dunn said: "We also recognise that some people may have been affected by child sexual exploitation but not wish to pursue criminal proceedings however I would still encourage those people to contact us, or another agency, to seek support.

"The content of the documentary has also undoubtedly caused concern and raised questions around how we investigate child sexual exploitation, particularly in Telford.

Tommy Robinson, whose real name is Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, leading the demonstration in Telford town centre

“An Independent Inquiry into child sexual exploitation in Telford has previously been commissioned and will be published soon, and while it would not be appropriate for us to speculate on the findings, I would like to offer my assurances that any allegations of child sexual exploitation will be thoroughly investigated.

“We continually look to develop and improve our approach to tackling child sexual exploitation and have dedicated child exploitation teams who actively seek to root out perpetrators and prevent further offending.

“If anyone has been left feeling unsafe or fearful following the documentary then we would urge them to report to get in contact.”

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