Call to save police base as crime in borough soars
RENEWED calls to stop the closure of a town’s police station have been made after it was revealed robberies soared by 62 per cent last year.
Crime in Solihull rose by 23 per cent overall, compared to 14 per cent across the UK and burglary and vehicle crime all saw big increases.
But the borough is facing the loss of its police station under cost-cutting plans by the West Midlands force.
Solihull MP Julian Knight said the crime rise was ‘concerning’ and he and fellow MP Dame Caroline Spelman (Meriden) have now launched a petition calling on the region’s Police and Crime Commis- sioner David Jamieson station closure.
Mr Knight said: “The recent rise in crime in Solihull is extremely concerning, and is a reason why keeping a police station in Solihull is so important. Local residents need a police presence in our town centre. What the PCC has said does not assure me that this is what we’re going to end up with.
“We need a specific commitment to maintaining a local police base, at this time where fighting crime in our community is paramount.”
Data from a Safer Solihull Partnership report to Solihull Council shows there were 7,581 crimes recorded in the borough between April and September 2017. That compares with 6,180 for the same period in 2016 – a 22.7 per cent rise. Robberies saw one to reject the of the biggest increases with 223 recorded last year – up 62 per cent on 2016.
The Safer Solihull Partnership report said: “For year to date, total recorded crime, vehicle crime, burglary, robbery and public place violence have seen an increase. Historically Chelmsley Wood, St Alphege and Kingshurst and Fordbridge wards are the areas with the highest number of total recorded crime.
“Comparisons with the same period show that Dorridge and Hockley Heath, Knowle and Shirley West have seen the largest increases in total recorded crime in this quarter. These increases are unusual for these areas.”
Solihull police station faces the axe alongside 23 other stations in the West Midlands in a bid to save £5 million a year running costs.
Former police officer and Conservative councillor Ken Hawkins said it was essential Solihull had a base, adding: “We’ve got to have an effective base. We don’t just want a pop up shop or a desk in the library where someone comes in to borrow a book in the children’s section and then next to them is someone reporting for bail.”
Deputy chief constable Louisa Rolfe said: “Many of these sites have been part of the police estate for a number of years and as such, we understand local communities may feel a connection to specific buildings. However, most of our buildings have high running costs, are poorly located and are not fit for future operational purposes.”
To date, the petition has signed by over 3,500 people. been
> Solihull MP Julian Knight