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!

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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

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