Call to save po­lice base as crime in bor­ough soars

Birmingham Post - - NEWS - Cath­rina Hulse Staff Re­porter

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

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