Neighbourhood policing 'on the brink of collapse'

Neighbourhood policing ‘on the brink of collapse’

Neighbourhood policing in Birmingham is on the brink of collapse, the city’s council will be told today.

Liberal Democrats have tabled a motion ahead of today’s city council meeting calling for the Government to increase funding.

They will also call on the Police and Crime Commissioner to look at the state of community policing.

The move comes after a survey carried out by the party revealed growing levels of dissatisfaction with the service.

Less than a fifth of those polled said that they were happy with the level of neighbourhood policing.



Perry Barr councillor Jon Hunt

“The results are disturbing,” said Lib Dem leader Jon Hunt, who is councillor for Perry Barr.

“Neighbourhood policing is vital to crime prevention as Supt David Webb proved in Handsworth 40 years ago, especially when tensions are high.”

He was referring to Supt Webb’s work in creating neighbourhood policing units in inner city Birmingham during the 1970s and 80s.

“Now, we have a situation where people cannot contact their local police,” he said. “There are few police stations open and there are no local phone lines.

“There is just the 101 service where the operators have to treble up as phone receptionists, crime recorders and gatherers of intelligence.



Former Supt David Webb pictured in 2001 in Handsworth

“It is an open secret that the police officers on neighbourhood police teams now spend most of their time on operational matters rather than being out and about in their communities.”

As well as joining other parties in demanding more funding from Government, the Lib Dems believe more resources could be found locally.

Moseley candidate Izzy Knowles, a retired police sergeant, said: “I cannot stress enough how important local policing is in reducing crime, gathering intelligence and reassuring the community.

“A lack of visible, local policing leads to less public satisfaction and confidence in the police.

“That, in turn, empowers criminals and leads to vulnerable people being drawn into crime. At some stage a tipping point will be reached.”

In The Survey

* More than half (56%) did not know how to contact local police.

* Another 15% admitted they were unsure how to call them.

* A hefty 82% felt that their neighbourhood was less safe than five years ago.

* Most (60%) said they would like to be able to call police locally.

* Just over one percent thought the Commissioner was Batman’s Jim Gordon.

* Fifty-seven per cent had no idea who the Police Commisioner was.

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