Author Archives: Phil Bateman

About Phil Bateman

Phil Bateman is Married to Mary and lives in Wednesfield North. He was a long serving local politician having served previously on the now defunct West Midlands County Council... read more

Linthouse Lane 8.00am 25-11-2012

Gulley Cleansing Is An Annual Task in Wednesfield

Recently I have had a constituent enquiring about how often the highway gulley’s are checked and what was the process that was undertaken here in Wednesfield North. Mr Steve Woodward Head of Environmental Services at the City of Wolverhampton Council explains.

“Our contractor who undertakes gully checks & cleanses, will check the amount of silt in each gully on arrival. A rod is used to determine if silt is present in the bottom of the gully pot. If silt is present, it will be shown on the rod and the gully cover will be lifted and the pot cleansed of the silt. If no silt is present, the gully will be flushed with clean water only. The rod is a simple but practicable method of determining if silt is present.

Currently, gully cleansing is undertaken annually and this cyclic maintenance regime is ensuring that most gullies do not silt up significantly making sure they are running free.”

I am pleased to hear the response, as we turn from Summer looking towards Autumn.In the past we have had big issues due to rain water run off. The photograph is a reminder of what heavy rain can do to our Ward! This was Linthouse Lane after a very heavy period of rain some years ago!

Blue Light

Keep Your Property Safe!

West Midlands Police inform me that there have been a number of Burglaries which have been reported in Wolverhampton over the current weeks.

Burglary prevention keep homes and property safe,one out of three burglary thieves do not have to use force getting into your property, they do so through an open door or window.
This is useful advice and I would urge residents in Wednesfield North to be aware and thoughtful about your property and its access.

If you see anything suspicious please report it quickly to the Police using the 101 nu

17 Police Lamp

Police Seize Suspicious vehicle!

Following a tip off by a local resident, I contacted the Wednesfield Police today to report a car that was suspiciously parked on Ashmore Park. Wednesfield Police attended swiftly and I am now informed by the local police team that they have seized the car.

I want to thank the local resident for contacting me…..well done!

untitled PCSO Andy Memory Man

Transport Has A Remarkable Memory Man!

As many of you will know, I worked in Public Transport for many years, I was mightily impressed when National Express told me about the latest protection for passengers. There is this remarkable man and his remarkable memory, I bet after you have read this you will be as impressed as I was!

“The Safer Travel superpower IDs a thousand suspects. Safer Travel PCSO Andy Pope West Midlands Safer Travel Police’s “memory man” has now successfully identified 1,000 crime suspects.

Police Community Support Officer Andy Pope has spotted 250 crime suspects in just one year, using his “superpower” – a remarkable ability to recognise faces of some of the region’s most wanted people.

The PCSO patrols buses, trams, trains and transport hubs as part of the West Midlands Safer Travel Partnership. He can remember faces from CCTV footage, stills and police briefings.

With over 300 suspects being identified for bus-related incidents and nearly 50 for train incidents, Andy has significantly contributed to the reduction of crime on the region’s transport network.

Andy says:

“I am thrilled to have identified a thousand suspects and to know I’m helping to reduce crime on public transport. It’s hard to explain exactly how I remember so many faces – they just seem to stick in my mind.

“I am responsible for a couple of busy bus corridors. It’s my job to make them as safe as possible so passengers can enjoy a pleasant journey. If anyone is causing a problem for passengers, I want to be able to recognise them and find them.”

PCSO Pope spotted two men responsible for a knifepoint robbery on a bus, where the victim was stabbed in the leg. Andy watched pictures of the suspects and later spotted them at Birmingham Moor Street. After chasing them on foot, he caught the main offender. His partner PC Steve Dawkins obtained details of the other man. He was later arrested and charged, thanks to Andy’s photographic memory.

The Safer Travel Partnership, where West Midlands Police works alongside British Transport Police and transport operators, including National Express West Midlands, has cut crime on buses, trains and trams by 70% in the last ten years.

City’s Top Officer Gives Reminder About Important Report!

Wolverhampton’s Managing Director Keith Ireland has reminded City Councillors that a blueprint has been created setting out development in the Black Country over the next 20 years to make it easier for people to get around.

All Councillors living in Dudley, Sandwell, Walsall and the City of Wolverhampton have been advised that you have until 8 September to have our say on how the Black Country Core Strategy should be updated.

The Black Country Core Strategy outlines how many homes are needed to be built, and how to plan for the number of extra jobs needed for a growing population.

It also decides where new homes and businesses should be located.

I know how important this document is and your three City Councillor for Wednesfield North will discuss the implications of the report, and what our response will be.

Mayor & Wednesfield Fc

Mayor Meets Wednesfield FC

Yesterday the Mayor of Wolverhampton met Wednesfield FC in the Mayors Parlour.

The Mayor Cllr Elias Mattu with his Mayoress invited newly promoted West Midlands Regional Premier League Club Wednesfield FC to meet with him, so that he could congratulate the Club personally for winning promotion

Mayor Mattu went onto state how proud he was of the teams performance, and their great disciplinary record. Going through their League games with out one Red Card!

The Mayor had certainly done his homework…He also congratulated the Club on providing organised sport for children 6 and upwards. He said he was impressed that up to 230 youngsters played their football in an organised way with Wednesfield FC.

He also said that he was disappointed to learn that the club had recently suffered a break in, and thieves had stolen the mowing equipment. He then offered the Club (from his own pocket) a donation towards the start and the replacement of the equipment….its not for me to say how much this donation was, but I felt it was a very generous act from a very distinguished man!

The Club players viewed the City Silver and appeared to enjoy the occasion greatly. I know I did and all the Wednesfield Councillors that could attend that were present, thought that it was a real nice event.

IMG_5708 City Council

Budget Reductions Looming- But Still Looking Forward….!

Whilst there are some Local Authorities around us here in Wolverhampton which have not prepared in the same way this City has done – to the ongoing Government austerity programme aimed at Local Government.

We here in Wolverhampton are still set to see a lot of pain in the forthcoming municipal year.

I give credit to Leader Roger Lawrence and the City Cabinet for steering us away from the ‘maelstrom’ that is now gripping other West Midlands Authorities. We took our action early in 2010/11, and we know how our sister authorities are feeling now, and yes we feel there searing pain of losing jobs and seeing service cuts affecting their local communities.

Wolverhampton its worth remembering had to identify budget reductions of more than £200m in response to cuts in Government funding and increased costs of and demand for our services. That was not easy and it came with a lot of pain for both the public we serve and the politicians that had to direct the budget reductions.

This is however still a forward looking administration. Yes we have our problems, and like most of us in our family lives we occasionally have fall outs!

But to the Labour Groups credit they have been very focussed on the requirements of the future as well as the exigencies of today. Politically it’s important that the Labour Party places the blame for our situation clearly where it is due.

This darn Conservative Government is still pursuing austerity measures, even when the Local Government services are more than squeaking across the UK. When the Police are so starved of resources they have to pray for rain to dampen criminal and anti-social behaviour! When the NHS is rocking badly, and when Council housing demand and the shortage of affordable housing is at an all time high.

The Wolverhampton Labour administration is currently analysing the required Budget savings of £14.8million which is now needed for 2018/19, so we can balance the budget as the law insists we do. That is a big deal now for this Wolverhampton Administration.

The current Leadership here in the City and the Labour Group whilst identifying some £12.8m of budget for reduction proposals, still requires for us to find £2.3m to set a balanced budget for next year. Then of course we have 2019/2020 year to plan for – But that is another story!

August is always traditionally a month when Committee meeting do not take place, and City Council staff and Councillors have a bit of a respite from meetings. But we are all very aware and very exercised about the future financial problems of the City Council, and we are all of us in the Labour Group here doing our very best to find a way forward. However do not think because we have hard economics in front of us, that we will not have an eye to the future. Of course we will.

We want to tackle this Government, and its imperative we do so with the full backing of the City. We need the public on our side. I also feel that I want to keep Wednesfield on our side too….!I hope that you find August warm and sunny, and that this holiday month is kind to you as families and individuals.

IMG_0394.JPG Chatting police

Policing in Wolverhampton – “Large City Forces On Their Knees”.

I recently wrote to Emma Reynolds our Member of Parliament concerning the recent ‘Queen’s Speech’ to Parliament.

Emma asked her constituents what they felt about the Governments proposals in the Queens Speech. I specifically wrote to Emma about the requirements we need about a good and well-resourced Police Force .

Emma’s response was – “Many of the results were so unanimous I’m not going to list the all separately – 9 out of 10 respondents think the NHS, social services, schools and the police are under pressure, with nearly every single person saying the NHS and police are under pressure.”

I have taken our Wednesfield issues further – In the last few weeks I have written to the Police & Crime Commissioner, and The Leader of the City Council about the city’s police resources being currently inadequate.

I continue to ask questions of the Police about our local neighbourhood policing, I will also continue to raise the issue of inadequate police resources being passed to West Midlands Police by this awful Conservative Government.

Recently the Police Federation wrote that – “Rank-and-file policing is “literally on its knees” trying to keep the public safe with the lowest number of officers for more than 30 years as emergency calls spiral to record highs.

Officers’ health and welfare are falling victim to operational demands as England’s largest forces took more 999 calls than ever before last month – with the big cities busier than they are on New Year’s Eve.

Chief officers and the Police Federation of England and Wales (PFEW) have united to express their concerns that “unprecedented” surges in demand – exacerbated by four UK terror attacks – are “playing havoc” with staff well-being.

The under-strain service, down nearly 21,000 in number since 2010, is having to work longer shifts and abandon rest days against a backdrop of huge recorded rises in knife and gun crime.

The National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) asked forces to compile their latest figures on 999 call volumes and crime rates after fears emerged that demand was soaring.

The data revealed an 11 per cent rise in emergency calls on last year with volumes in May and June hitting levels not previously experienced.

Forces covering London, Birmingham, Manchester and the East Midlands had their “highest-ever 999 call volumes” last month.

PFEW chair Steve White warned that his members “simply cannot keep going on as before”, citing last week’s Home Office figures showing another 985 officers lost to the service over the past year.

In the last seven years numbers of officers in the service have plummeted – from 143,734 in 2010 to 124,066 last year. The latest statistic is 123,142 for March 2017 – the lowest total since 1985.

Yet he points out that “crime is soaring” – with knife offences up 20 per cent to their highest in seven years – alongside a 23 per cent increase in gun crime. “And that’s not taking into account the recent terror attacks,” added Mr White.

“Our members are literally on their knees trying to keep the public safe – forces are trying to meet demand with the lowest number of police officers since 1985.

“Rest days are being cancelled because of operational need and all this is playing havoc with officers’ health and welfare. But now we’ve further evidence that demand is still rising, literally through the roof.

“These figures paint an extremely worrying picture and are yet further evidence, if any was needed, that policing has reached crisis point.”

So the evidence mounts that here in Wolverhampton North East the MP and her constituents feel that the Police is not being delivered enough resources to deliver enough police to serve and protect our City of Wolverhampton properly.

The Professional Police Organisations representing Chief Officers and the Police Federation representing the rank & file police officers are saying loud and clear that the forces are at breaking point.

I know that sometimes for days at a time my Ward of Wednesfield North doesn’t see a Policeman or a PCSO.

They get sent to other towns when the policing gets tough. It’s bad when the police pray for rain to dampen tensions and reduce the calls on the force. Yet that is what is happening.

We all look to our brave police and PCSO’s to uphold our law and our civilisation. We must all pressure the Prime Minister and her Conservative Government to urgently give more resource’s to West Midlands Police so that our city is made safer….. and quickly!

Wolverhampton Art Gallery

Reading the Signs of Progress!

The City of Wolverhampton will soon be installing ten tourist destination signs (brown signs) on key routes into the City. The new highway signage is an opportunity to improve visitors’ and residents’ awareness of the routes to our key tourist destinations. They’re aimed at attractions that have at least 100,000 visitors per year.

Some of our residents will be surprised at the size and numbers of the visitors that use these sites.

In the City we have nine tourist destinations that fit the criteria, these include: WV Active Central Baths, WV Active Aldersley Leisure Village, WV Active Bilston – Bert Williams, Monmore Green Stadium, Wolverhampton Race Course, Civic and Wulfrun Halls, Molineux Stadium, Grand Theatre and the Art Gallery.

The Managing Director tells us that the “new signage is due to be completed by the end of August and follows on from the “Welcome to City of Wolverhampton” gateway signs that are now in place.”

I very much welcome all that we can do as a City to encourage even more visitors into the City. Lifting tourism and encouraging visitors helps our city economy, and lifts our reputation. One million visitors is a great base from which to build upwards on.

17 Police Lamp

“We Need an Effective Police Force – Carry’s the Community With Them”

The Police are crucial to the way that our society works. Yet the fact is that we are here (in the suburbs) seeing less police on the beat in our communities than at any other time I can remember.

What on earth has happened to the much vaunted community policing?

I have been a Councillor in Wednesfield North for some thirty years. I remember PC Brian Tew, on the beat, in the schools, taking the role of School Governor, and always seen at local events. The community knew him, he lived locally, and he knew what was taking place. PC Tew also knew who was doing what, and who were up to no good! In fact he was a really good Copper.

Brian retired and his role was taken by PC Garry Matthews, again he was a local lad, went to school in the community, knew what was taking place, Garry attended community meetings. Everyone knew him, no problems in telling him what was shaking down!

Today here in Wednefield North the community policing is haphazard, the police are at full stretch.

Sometimes for days at a time my Ward of Wednesfield North doesn’t see a Policeman or a PCSO. They get sent to other towns when the policing gets tough. Its bad when the police prays for rain to dampen tensions and reduce the calls on the force. Yet that is what is happening.

When you phone West Midlands Constabulary to report a crime in your neighbourhood, you have to go through 101, and the bad news stories of that Police service are now legendary. Consequently the confidence drains from the community, minor crime goes unreported. The Police lose valuable information, and the intelligence gathering becomes poorer.

In the West Midlands when crime occurs we have grown up to expect a Police officer to be on the scene.

That is not the case no longer. It appears that certain Police Logs are dropped. Crime is set in category; the Police decide whether they turn out or not! The Citizen who pays for the Police through Income Tax and Counciltax is left frustrated.

More than that they feel angry that when they are exposed to crime that the force they pay for is either slow, or non – existent.

Now I am keen that Wolverhampton City Council debate these issues. I am certain that Wednesfield North is not the only community alone with all these frustrations. Every community in the City must have these difficulties, many must have a worse tale to tell than our own ‘low crime’ Ward.

Being a City Councillor is an important role. It’s my firm belief that I should, where I can reflect, the concerns of the electorate.

It is my strong view that we should now have a serious debate in Wolverhampton about the Police service.
We should air our views as a City about West Midlands Police numbers. As a City Council we should be looking to reviewing the Police and the way they function in our City at the moment. The Police & Crime Commissioner must be made aware of how we here in Wolverhampton view the service we are getting for the payments we are making. Wolverhampton should not be afraid to air the truth about current policing.

The Government must also get the message. It is so maddening to constantly read government headlines in the Local Media that tells the community that more is being spent on Policing, when every single one of us knows that the police service is on the cusp of a catastrophe.

Try telling my constituents when the police do not turn up for a crime that there is more being spent on the police! I cannot be the only Councillor in Wolverhampton that gets frustrated at the current police situation. We need to have a police force that reflects what is taking place here in Wolverhampton.

We require numbers that reflect the crime that is taking place. We need an effective police force that carry’s the community with them. We need to have confidence that those that serve us understand that we want local community policing that comes with the support of the communities. We want the police to ‘protect and to serve’.

I have written to both the Leader of the City Council, and the Police and Crime Commissioner. I shall be pursuing this issue over the Summer.