On Monday 11th July, your three Labour Councillors met with the Police and Crime Commissioner for the West Midlands. We invited him to Ashmore Park to make him aware of the crime problems, we have here in Wednesfield North and across Wednesfield.
The Commissioner arrived at The Hub where we had arranged to meet. We introduced him to James Clarke the Chair of the Ashmore Park Community Association.
All three of your Councillors were in attendance. We explained to the PCC that there just was not enough Neighbourhood Police officers in Wednesfield. We explained that whilst we were not a ‘high crime ‘ area, nevertheless crime hurt our residents, and they feel it is rising across the Ward. I explained that we felt that the WMP Communications fell short in explaining what the police were doing locally, that the information often when published and then carried in publications was often incorrect or misleading. We explained that there had been some high profile crimes that had been carried out recently in the area that had knife issues at the core.
We informed him that many residents felt that contacting the Police didnt bring the response they wanted. We told him that the 101 line was a constant criticism, when we speak with residents as to the need to report crime. We informed him that when the Police didn’t turn out for crime calls, that was just another nail into the trust issue that was constantly eroding and creating gaps between West Midlands Police and our local residents. We told him that now days we hardly ever see an officer above the rank of Sgt, Never mind knowing the name or rank of senior officers. As was the case 10 years or so ago.
The PCC replied that in 2010 there were 2200 Police in the West Midlands. Today even with the up lift in new officers and when they are fully operational. This will bring west Midlands up to a strength of just 1200 Police Officers, to protect and serve a population of over 3million. Not even after this 12 year period of stress and strain, and with the new investment of Officers coming on the beat . We would still have to face up to the fact that we would have a service strength below the levels of 2010.
The PCC recognised there was not enough Police Officers. He informed us he constantly repeats the message to the Government who were the architects of this forces Police officers slack of strength.
He did say that amongst the new recruits coming on board were to be 450 new Community and Neighbourhood Police officers.We praised the role of the PCSO’s and we underlined the local situation here where there was not enough Police Officers to Police the two Wards in Wednesfield and Bentley Bridge Retail and Leisure Park.
We also informed him that all the work that we had undertaken with our residents here in Wednesfield North, there was an overwhelming support for our Wednesfield Police Station to remain open and to have a front desk again. We made that case strongly. The PCC said it was unlikely to close completely for the next few years. More to Report over the next few Days…..