Statement from BCP Council - Robert Baden-Powell statue, Poole Quay
Cllr Mark Howell, Deputy Leader and Portfolio Holder for Regeneration and Culture, said:
“Our decision yesterday evening to temporarily remove the statue of Lord Baden-Powell from Poole Quay was taken following the listing of the statue on a website detailing potential targets for protestors. This listing placed the much-loved statue at risk of damage or even destruction. We made the decision quickly in order to protect it.
"We know that local people feel proud of Lord Baden-Powell’s and the Scout movement’s links with Poole, and that some people feel that we would be giving in to the protestors by temporarily removing the statue. However, we feel it is responsible to protect it for future generations to enjoy and respect.
“We will not be removing the statue today as the foundations are deeper than originally envisaged and we need further discussions with contractors on the best way to remove it safely. Although we cannot say when any temporary removal may take place, we will be providing 24-hour security until it is either removed or the threat diminishes.
“Should the statue be removed temporarily, barring unforeseen circumstances we will return it to the Quay as soon as the threat level subsides.”
Time for community discussion on Baden-Powell statue
Recognising the international issues around historical figures brought to the forefront of our minds by the Black Lives Matter movement, BCP Council is removing for now the statue of Robert Baden-Powell that currently sits on Poole Quay. We acknowledge the differing views of the life activities of Baden-Powell and want to create time for all views to be aired, and to minimise the risk of any public disorder or antisocial behaviour that could arise were the statue to remain in situ. We are not prepared to see it damaged or destroyed and are taking action now to prevent that from happening.
The removal of the statue is a temporary measure to avoid potential public disorder and to protect the statue from the risk of permanent damage.
Leader of the Council Cllr Vikki Slade, said: “Whilst famed for the creation of the Scouts, we also recognise that there are some aspects of Robert Baden-Powell’s life that are considered less worthy of commemoration. Therefore, we are temporarily removing the statue so that we can properly involve all relevant communities and groups in discussions about its future, including whether a more educational presentation of his life in a different setting might be more appropriate.”
The statue was installed in 2008 and faces Brownsea island in Poole Harbour, where the Scout movement founded by Baden-Powell began. It will be removed from Poole Quay and put into safe storage.
Dorset County Scouts have been advised and support the position.