Response letter from Chief Superintendent about closure of local Police team

This is the letter sent to our  local Councillor Eva Phillips confirming that our local Police team will remain.

Response from Chief Superintendent

Here is the response I have received from the Chief Superintendent to my concerns about our local neighbourhood police team.

Cllr Phillips,

Further to our telephone conversation this morning, I am pleased to be able to clarify the nature of changes being considered for the Selly Oak Constituency neighbourhood teams.

We need to make these changes so that we can improve the service we offer to people living in the area.

Currently the officers are divided between the four ward teams and work on different shift patterns. This means that each ward has to experience days when there are no officers available who normally patrol these areas.  Clearly criminals operate seven days a week so if our neighbourhood teams are off duty on some days, this can present a vulnerability.  Our only recourse at the moment is to divert officers from other wards to cover on such occasions, where analysis suggests this is necessary.

The numbers of officers available on our neighbourhood teams is not growing and we can predict that in the summer months in particular, with an increased level of abstractions through leave etc, there will be days when one ward or another is not covered by a neighbourhood team.

My proposal is to change the existing team structure and shift pattern so that every day, seven days a week, there will be an officer on duty for each of the four wards.  Every ward will have a named officer who knows that area well, on duty to address any issues that arise, without depending on other officers to cover across or to have to wait until responsible officers return from their scheduled days off.

I would like to stress that we are very much in the planning stages and we are currently consulting with employees and unions over the proposals. I would also like to reassure people that there are no plans to reduce numbers of officers across the constituency.

It has been suggested that Selly Oak Constituency is being used as a pilot area for the WMP2020 transformation programme.  This is not the case. The development of the new WMP2020 model remains under development, but we are liaising closely with the programme team to ensure our plans do not conflict.  It is only a local pilot in the sense that we must introduce change in the Birmingham South Local Policing Unit incrementally, to manage the transition effectively.

Local tasking meetings will continue, as will priority setting.  All the additional responsibilities of neighbourhood teams, such as school liaison and offender management, for example, will also be delivered by constituency teams.

It was always my intention to consult with the wider community before implementing any change.  It is right, however, that my own officers are consulted first, before we engage with external stakeholders. It is unfortunate that an inaccurate representation has been made to you before I had the opportunity to initiate that formal consultation.  However, I will ensure that you do have a representative of my leadership team at your forthcoming public meetings so that we can listen to and consider any views and alleviate any concerns.

The focused, predictive, preemptive strategy that has already been introduced to this policing area, ahead of others, is seeing a reduction in demand for service on a week by week basis now.  This latest proposal will build on that to provide the people of Selly Oak Constituency with the best possible service in neighbourhood policing.

I have shared this update with Steve McCabe MP and the PCC in response to your own letters.  I also hope that in future if you hear any suggestions of change, that you will feel confident enough to contact me directly and seek clarification.

I am a Birmingham South resident myself and I am as desperate as every other resident to ensure that only the highest standards of public service are delivered here.  I am confident that these proposals will achieve that.

Yours sincerely,

Chris Todd
Chief Superintendent
Birmingham South Local Policing Commander

I’m glad there will be a named officer for each ward every day. I’m still concerned that links with local schools and groups will be lost. I’m worried that this will be rolled out quickly to other areas before we know how successful it is, I don’t even know what the definition for success is right now.

We have been promised a consultation, I will help publicise, please take part.

 

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