Vigilantes look to fill hole left by police cuts
FEARFUL RESIDENTS JOIN FORCES
CONCERNED residents have formed a vigilante group to tackle growing crime in Solihull and Birmingham after a spate of violent attacks.
Nearly 400 locals have formed the group ‘ We Stand Determined’ to help tackle rising crime in their communities.
The group was launched on Facebook three weeks ago after an unsuccessful petition to get more police in the area.
Organisers known only as Wayne, Tracy and Michael founded the group after discovering a friend had been attacked in his home by thieves armed with hammers.
They now organise twice- weekly patrols across the area.
The group insists it is non- violent and seeks to work in partnership with the police while acting as a new line of defence for the community.
Solihull- based college lecturer Wayne, 47, who does not wish to reveal his surname over fears for his safety, said: “The way our group started, and the reaction we’ve had, has showed us how much local communities need groups like us to fill in the gaps the authorities simply don’t have the funding for. There has been a recent spate of crime in Birmingham and Solihull in particular has fallen victim to an increase of just under 1,500 more cases so far this year.
“People needed someone to turn to, someone who will listen and visit them in their home if a constituent is fearful for their own safety.
“We’re vigilantes, but we’re vigilantes with a twist, working within the law and not against it.
“Our group is a central place for the local community to come together to log crimes, comment and help stop crime in the area.” Birmingham has recently been blighted by a wave of stabbings, car crime, shoot- ings and murders. Tracy, 48, said: “We Stand Determined is not against West Midlands Police as they understand the force can only do what they can with the funding they are given.”
But the group say this doesn’t solve the problem of reduced bobbies on the beat.
We Stand Determined says it has plans to organise buddy systems for the elderly and defence classes for anyone who feels they need to be able to protect themselves.
It soon hopes to grow bigger and have representatives based in every area of the country so Wayne, Tracy and Michael can help everyone sleep a little easier.
Tracy said: “We stress to our members that if they see something, they should notify the police first. We would like to join up with the police, but we want to be able to make our own decisions on where the help is really needed, and not where the police tell us to be.”
A spokesman for West Midlands Police said officers were aware of multiple groups but advised members to join police- approved Streetwatch programmes instead.
Organisers of the We Stand Determined group who wish to remain anonymous