Express & Star

We won't hesitate to prosecute racists, says police chief after England players abused

The head of West Midlands Police has said his force won't hesitate to prosecute online racists as he paid tribute to England's players following their Euros penalty shoot-out heartbreak.

Last updated
Chief Constable Dave Thompson has been named a Knights Bachelor

Marcus Rashford, Bukayo Saka and Jadon Sancho suffered racist abuse after they missed penalties in Sunday's final.

The sickening abuse has been widely condemned, while England and Aston Villa defender Tyrone Mings has attacked Home Secretary Priti Patel for criticising the players' decision to take the knee.

West Midlands Police Chief Constable Sir Dave Thompson said the force would continue to "actively challenge" racism and other forms of abuse.

He added the overwhelming majority of England fans had supported the team and been filled with pride by their run to the final.

A damaged mural of Marcus Rashford was flooded with tributes.

He also dismissed any suggestions being pro-inclusion and anti-racist was "woke or virtue signalling".

Villa's Mings accused Home Secretary Ms Patel of "stoking the fire" by labelling the players' taking of the knee during the tournament as "gesture politics".

Sir Dave said on Twitter: "Sadly racist, homophobic and other forms of abuse are present in football. We actively challenge this. Stuart Ward is the country's first Football Hate Crime Officer within @FootballUnitWMP . We are actively anti-racist. We prosecute this abuse.

"We should however reflect more positively on how inclusive England fans are today. The thuggish yobs of old are being eclipsed by a broader fanbase that is far more diverse.

Villa's Tyrone Mings.

"This is directly due to the values of the manager and the players. A true inclusive team has been formed because of the respect for everyone in the squad. It has shown in a performance where they have played for each other. They are active in promoting equality.

"There is much to learn from this team in how we conduct ourselves in life. Genuine teams only come about by valuing and including everyone. Being pro-inclusion and anti-racist isn't woke or virtue signalling.

"There are three lions for me from (Sunday). Rashford, Sancho and Saka. Amazing courage on and off the pitch. I hope the @metpoliceuk are able to make progress in their investigations."