Two church workers from Birmingham have been told “you can’t preach here, this is a Muslim area” by a police community support officer.
The incident happened to Mr Arthur Cunningham and Mr Joseph Abraham as they were handing out Christian tracts on the corner of Ellesmere and Alum Rock Road in the city on 19 February this year.
PCSO Naguthney (30825) told the Christians they were committing a hate crime by attempting to convert Muslims to Christianity and that he was going to take them to the police station.
Two other officers, PCSO Ali and PC Loi, also attended the incident. PC Loi advised Mr Cunningham and Mr Abraham that it might be wiser if they did not come back to Alum Rock Road.
PCSO Naguthney said, “You have been warned. If you come back here and get beat up, well you have been warned.”
The two Christians subsequently made a formal complaint to West Midlands Police about the conduct of the officers.
A meeting took place with Inspector Karen Hansen on 10 March at Queen’s Road Station. At the meeting Inspector Karen Hansen refused to issue a letter of apology.
It is understood that PCSO Naguthney has been given verbal advice for his pocket notebook and will receive training in understanding hate crime and communicating with the public.
Mr Cunningham and Mr Abraham do not feel this response properly reflects the seriousness of the officers’ actions.
Backed by The Christian Institute, lawyers for the two Christians have sent a strongly worded letter to the Chief Constable of West Midlands Police.
The letter gives notice that the two men are entitled to bring a claim against West Midlands Police for breach of their convention rights under articles 9 and 10 of the Human Rights Act 1998.
Mr Cunningham and Mr Abraham are seeking a full and unreserved written apology, recognition that their convention rights were infringed by the conduct of the police officers, damages and reasonable legal costs.