Call for pri­vate guards to halt area’s soar­ing crime

Birmingham Post - - NEWS - Carl Jack­son Lo­cal Democ­racy Re­porter

PRI­VATE se­cu­rity guards are to be hired in a Birm­ing­ham neigh­bour­hood where res­i­dents have de­clared they have had enough of gangs and bur­glars.

Lo­cals in Frank­ley now say they are will­ing to put their hands in their pock­ets claim­ing they have been left ‘scared’ by a spike in break-ins, car thefts and anti-so­cial be­hav­iour.

They want to hire a se­cu­rity of­fi­cer and dog to pa­trol cer­tain streets from dusk ‘til dawn who could be alerted to crime through real-time alerts on a mo­bile app.

Coun­cil­lor Si­mon Mor­rall (Cons, Frank­ley Great Park) is spear­head­ing the idea.

He told around 30 res­i­dents at Hol­ly­moor Com­mu­nity Church that since be­com­ing a coun­cil­lor he turns up to speak to bur­glary vic­tims quicker than the po­lice.

Cllr Mor­rall said: “In this par­tic­u­lar part of the world we have seen a rise in car key bur­glar­ies.

“We have got to the stage where enough is enough and we have got to try and do some­thing.

“We are not look­ing to re­place po­lice. Fun­da­men­tally this is a de­ter­rent. It is also a back-up while po­lice are on their way or bet­ter still peo­ple won’t com­mit crime in the first place.

“The worst case sce­nario is that if we don’t do some­thing peo­ple will start vig­i­lante groups and some­one is go­ing to get hurt. We don’t want that.”

Cllr Mor­rall is look­ing to launch an eight-week trial in a spe­cific part of Frank­ley, which if suc­cess­ful in driv­ing down bur­glary rates, he would look to roll out fur­ther afield with po­ten­tial fi­nan­cial sup­port from the ward’s par­ish coun­cil.

Faisal Ab­dul­lah, of Birm­ing­ham Se­cu­rity Ser­vices, said that se­cu­rity guards were are not the same as po­lice but could act as a phys­i­cal pres­ence with pow­ers to re­strain sus­pects, al­beit not ar­rest them.

Fig­ures from po­lice.uk show that in the force’s Long­bridge area, in­clud­ing Frank­ley, there were 345 bur­glar­ies be­tween Oc­to­ber last year and Septem­ber this year.

Dur­ing the same pe­riod there were 546 re­ports of anti-so­cial be­hav­iour, 400 ve­hi­cle crimes and 335 in­ci­dents of crim­i­nal dam­age and ar­son.

The most com­mon crime types are vi­o­lence and sex­ual of­fences ac­count­ing for a com­bined 807 re­ports.

> Res­i­dents are fed up with crime in Frank­ley in south-west Birm­ing­ham

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