And so it begins…
This week I found out that our area has been chosen to pilot new local police arrangements. Within a matter of weeks, Brandwood could lose its extremely successful Neighbourhood Police team.
Like many other public services, West Midlands Police have been told to save money. Now they plan to remove local neighbourhood police teams, like our team based in Brandwood, who know the area, the troublemakers, the vulnerable, and replace them with a central team consisting of four merged teams based in Bournville. Instead of patrolling their patch they will work on a ‘mission led’ basis, reacting to trouble in hotspots.
As other parts of the Selly Oak constituency have more crime, it is likely that we will see less police in our area. This will be devastating. Our local police team in Brandwood have worked closely with city council housing officers to remove £500,000 of cannabis from the streets in just one 18 month period. Their local knowledge has helped put thugs in jail when they break their anti-social behaviour orders. Every month they hold a public meeting where our community sets priorities for action, whether speeding on certain roads, off road bikes, or theft from cars. They have built excellent partnerships with the community and schools. We need them to continue this work, to keep people safe, to prevent more people becoming victims.
We have been chosen to pilot the changes, massive changes, but no-one has asked us what we think. If the new, untested system fails – we will already have lost our local knowledge and experience, putting more people at risk of becoming victims of crime.
I’ve written to the Police and Crime Commissioner to express my concerns and to demand he attends a public meeting here in Brandwood to talk directly to our community about the plans (Click here for letter). I’ve also written to our MP Steve McCabe so he can ask questions in Parliament about the lack of consultation (Click here for letter).