There has been an outpouring of reaction over the council decision to temporarily take down the statue of Scouting founder Robert Baden-Powell.

From politicians to members of the public, the decision – which was taken following advice from Dorset Police over fears of public disorder or anti-social behaviour – has split public opinion.

The decision has been made following calls across the country for statues commemorating people who were involved in the slave trade or known to be racist to be removed.

But many say the decision needs to be made following public consultation and should be left in place until then.

BCP Council leader Vikki Slade said in a press statement yesterday: “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 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 council has stated the move is temporary.

A petition has also been set up calling for the statue to stay in place. 

MPs from across Dorset have been stating their opinion on social media:

Tobias Ellwood

A wider overdue national debate has begun about who we were, who we are & where we should go.

Few historical figures comply with 21st C values. Simply expunging past connections from sight won’t correct wrongs or help us better learn from our past.

I was a scout. Like millions across the world I benefitted from the incredible movement Baden-Powell created.

To learn that his statue will be removed, without public debate on police advice, following threats of vandalism, suggests we are forgetting about how far we’ve come.

#blacklivesmatter powerfully exposes how far we still need to go. And also the wisdom of being more critically aware of our own complex history. Our past should be a source of insight, education and debate.

Expunging history figures, for failing to comply with 21st century values will not amend past mistakes, nor right today’s wrongs.

Let us all (including scouts) understand and learn from the whole story – not try and erase it.

Conor Burns 

The removal of the statue of Lord Baden Powell from Poole is a huge error of judgement. Very concerned by the idea it is on advice from Dorset Police. Urgent clarity needed. Put it back.

Michael Tomlinson 

Our Scouting movement is a force for good. Full stop. Trying to appear woke, whilst actually being asleep to history and context, is a mistake. It should be rectified. Immediately. #BringBackBadenPowell

Robert Syms

For the avoidance of doubt I am opposed to the permanent removal of the statue of Baden-Powell from Poole Quay.