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.