As Wednesfield North’s City Councillor’s, the three of us (Phil Rita and Mary) all know that the fear of crime, is often quoted to us by residents living in our Ward,as one of their biggest concerns they have.
Many of you will know that together your three Labour Councillors are consistently calling for better Policing, the return of a publicly open Police Station in Wednesfield, and for more Community Policing here in Wednesfield North. We are active in fighting crime and speak with the Police in Wednesfield almost every week. Whilst we do have a Ward that is often quoted as being a “low- crime” Ward. Nevertheless the problems that we face here, with the crimes that do get committed certainly makes people nervous.
Recently I have been speaking with the Labour Party candidate for the West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner elections – which will take place in May 2021.
His name is Simon Foster, and I thought what he told me – would be better spread on a wider basis. I asked Simon to write to you, setting out his views on the Police, and the type of Policing he would like to see,here in Wednesfield and across the West Midlands. Here is what he has written –
” Hello Wednesfield North- Let’s Rebuild Community Policing, I believe community policing should always be the foundation stone on which policing is built in this country. It embodies the founding principle of policing by consent which is that the police are the public and the public are the police. Community police officers are our ‘bobbies on the beat.’
Over the past 10 years, first the Tory/Liberal Democrat coalition and then the Tories were responsible for imposing £175 million of cuts to West Midlands Police funding. That was a big mistake on their part. It resulted in the dismantling of our community policing. In the West Midlands, between 2010 and 2018, there was a reduction in community police officers of more than 50% from 2,590 officers to 1,292. In addition, there was the loss of 297 Police Community Support Officers. Local communities have been paying the price because they are less safe and secure.
In addition, many of those remaining community police officers have often been in name only because they will also be expected to engage in response and investigation duties. The dismantling of our community policing was and continues to be a significant loss to communities. It was counter productive and a false economy.
Firstly, visible community policing is an effective way to build communication, confidence, relationships, trust and legitimacy between communities and the police. This will improve community relations and reduce the fear of crime.
Secondly, when the police are part of and able to work proactively with their community we are all best placed to prevent crime happening in the first place. Problems can be dealt with before they become emergencies. The prevention of crime is always better than having to deal with the consequences of crime.
Thirdly, community policing provides the opportunity for multi-agency working with local schools, youth services, mental health services, housing providers and others to help identify problems, enable early intervention and address the underlying causes and identify long term solutions.
Let’s rebuild community policing. I want to rebuild community policing. For justice, safety and security. Are you with me? “
Councillor Phil Bateman further added – ” I will ask Simon to keep in touch with us here in Wednesfield North as we turn towards elections next year, his views are going to shape the Police and Crime Commissioner campaign.”