Birmingham City Council v. Jermone Jones and Others
You may well be familiar with this case as it has received a fair amount of media coverage over the last couple of weeks. The case is considered a landmark ruling, as it is believed to be the largest group gang injunction ever secured in England and Wales. Birmingham City Council, working in conjunction with West Midlands Police, secured injunctions against 18 men suspected of involvement in serious criminal activity involving gun and drug offences.
This is also a particularly good example of the agencies working together as the preparation of the case involved over 80 witnesses from the Home Office and Police; in addition steps were taken to restrict the use of the respondents’ vehicles and mobile phones in an attempt to restrict their activity in Birmingham.
The injunctions were issued under Part 4 Policing and Crime Act 2009, as well as an Anti-Social Behaviour Injunction Order under Part 1, Anti-social Behaviour Crime and Policing Act 2014. Part 4, of the Policing and Crime Act 2009 grants powers to a Chief Officer of a police area/Chief Constable of the British Transport Police or a local authority, to apply for an injunction order to prevent gang-related violence and drug dealing activity against a respondent aged 14 or over, as long as two conditions are met.
The two conditions are:
1. The Court is satisfied on the balance of probabilities that the respondent has engaged in or has encouraged or assisted
(a) gang-related violence, or
(b) gang-related drug dealing activities.
2. The Court thinks it is necessary to grant the injunction for either or both of the following purposes –
(a) to prevent the respondent from engaging in, or encouraging or assisting, gang-related violence or gang-related drug dealing activity;
(b) to protect the respondent from gang-related violence or gang-related drug dealing activity.
It is interesting that a number of issues were considered in this case including the right of freedom of expression under Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights. It was, however, found that the granting of the injunctions were proportionate interference with the right to this freedom. A number of the respondents had taken part in music videos which the Council considered both “provocative and inflammatory”.
It appears from the accounts that the investigations were ongoing for a couple of years with the police and the local authority trying to interrupt the gang’s criminal/anti-social behaviour from the Summer of 2015 and into 2016. Further, the police confirmed they were working closely with Birmingham City Council as well as other agencies in order to secure these injunctions.
Importantly, and interestingly, both the local authority and the police say that they will continue to work with these men if they wish to change their gang lifestyle.