Petition launched to remove statue of modern police founder, Sir Robert Peel, from Piccadilly Gardens

David Dixon / Geograph

A campaign has been launched to remove the statue of two-time UK Prime Minister and modern police founder Sir Robert Peel from Piccadilly Gardens.

A #RepealPeel movement has been set up in the wake of the recent Black Lives Matter protests – which have sparked a worldwide demand for police reform.

The petition, which has already received hundreds of signatures, calls on Mayor Andy Burnham and Manchester City Council to consider taking down the statue and replacing it with an area for “black artists and creators”.

It states: “The aim is to help bring down the statue of Robert Peel Junior, who created the modern police force in 1829, his father was actively proslavery and circulated a proslavery petition in 1806, a mere year before the abolition of the slave trade.

“In a speech to Parliament in 1794, he warned of the dangerous consequences that would envelop the colonies because of abolitionism, inferring that Africans were content being slaves.”

The common nickname for British police, “Bobbies”, can be traced back to Robert Peel – who has statues, streets, pubs and hotels in his name across the world.

A Peel memorial in Glasgow was one of several sculptures of historical figures vandalised over the weekend.

The Winston Churchill model in Westminster was also sprayed in graffiti, whilst protestors in Bristol tore down a statue of former slave trader Edward Colston and rolled it into the harbour.

Thousands have participated in the UK’s Black Lives Matter marches so far – with as many as 15,000 descending on Piccadilly Gardens on Saturday.

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