Category Archives: Police

Campaign against cuts to Bloxwich police station hours

Labour Councillors Julie Fitzpatrick (left), Shaun Fitzpatrick, Ann Young and Ian Robertson at ASDA Bloxwich
Labour Councillors Julie Fitzpatrick (left), Shaun Fitzpatrick, Ann Young and Ian Robertson at ASDA Bloxwich

Local Labour Party Councillors in Bloxwich and Blakenall Heath have been campaigning against recently announced proposals to slash the opening hours of Bloxwich Police Station from January 2012.

With 12 stations across the West Midlands announced as candidates for possible changes to front office opening, Bloxwich is the only police station in Walsall Metropolitan Borough slated for a cut in hours, from 24 hours per day, seven days a week, to just 10am-6pm, and unhappy Bloxwich residents are already up in arms over the proposals.

The alterations to opening times come when the West Midlands force is being subjected to severe Coalition government cuts, meaning it has to save £126 million over a four year period, and management feels the need to review and rationalise its services as part of a modernisation programme.

Labour Councillors opposing the move on behalf of the people of Bloxwich and district have so far collected more than 2,000 signatures, with many more expected, in a petition calling for a re-think on the highly controversial move.

There has been a police station in Bloxwich since 1861.  The current Bloxwich Police Station in Elmore Green Road is the most modern in the borough, and was formally opened by Princess Anne, the Princess Royal, on 26 September 2002 , replacing the previous station housed in the historic Bloxwich Public Buildings (built 1882) which were demolished to make way for the new station.

Police claim that under the new arrangements, 99% of households will never be more than four miles from a 24/7 opening police station across the region – cold comfort for residents, especially on local housing estates, who fear what the hours of darkness, when crimes like burglary and anti-social behaviour in particular are most likely, may bring if the Bloxwich station’s front office shuts its doors against them between 6pm – 10am every night.

They also question whether these cuts may just be the tip of the iceberg, especially at a time when plans are being laid for the expensive rebuilding of Walsall borough’s main police station in Green Lane.

Research shows, say West Midlands Police, that the main method of contact for members of the public is over the ‘phone. On average the force handles over 5,000 phone calls each day from the public and over 2,000 emails per month are received by the force’s “Contact us” email account alone.  They also say that, in those stations where the changes are being proposed, on average two people visited the front offices outside of core hours. A large number of those were solicitors visiting the custody facility.

However this generalised data has been partly refuted in Bloxwich by the Walsall Labour Group on Walsall Council, who say that the overnight closure of Bloxwich Police Station has been proposed despite police acknowledging that on average over 30 people visit the station each night.

Police insist however that cuts to opening hours will not impact on the way the force works within its local communities. Officers will continue to work within communities, patrol neighbourhoods and work with local people and partners to identify and solve issues of concern.

A detailed report is due to go to the Police Authority for their consideration and will be presented at their next meeting on Thursday 1 December.  This will be available on the Police Authority website on Thursday 24 November: www.west-midlands-pa.gov.uk . Police Authority members will consider the proposal and the consultation process.

Residents are invited to give their views via an online questionnaire on the force’s website www.west-midlands.police.uk on how West Midlands Police will provide services in the future.  People can also email their views via contactus@west-midlands.police.uk, or write to West Midlands Police, Lloyd House, Colmore Circus, Queensway, B4 6NQ.

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Appeal after non-stop collision closes Bloxwich Lane

Police Line

Police in Walsall are appealing for witnesses following a serious road traffic collision that has closed a main road near to the M6 this evening.

Officers were called to Bloxwich Lane at 4.35pm today (Tuesday 22 November) after a car and a pedestrian had been involved in a collision near to the traffic junction with Churchill Road. Continue reading Appeal after non-stop collision closes Bloxwich Lane

Bloxwich police station hours to be slashed – consultation

Bloxwich Police Station
Bloxwich Police Station

A new West Midlands Police website has gone live today inviting members of the public to give their views on proposals to change the opening hours of 12 police station front offices from January 2012.

Bloxwich is the only station in Walsall Metropolitan Borough slated for a cut in hours, from 24 hours per day to just 10am-6pm, and unhappy Bloxwich residents are already up in arms over the proposals.

There has been a police station in Bloxwich since 1861.  The current Bloxwich Police Station in Elmore Green Road is the most modern in the borough, and was formally opened by Princess Anne, the Princess Royal, on 26 September 2002 , replacing the previous station housed in the historic Bloxwich Public Buildings (built 1882) which were demolished to make way for the new station.

Police claim that under the new arrangements, 99% of households will never be more than four miles from a 24/7 opening police station across the region.

A detailed report is due to go to the Police Authority for their consideration and will be presented at their next meeting on Thursday 1 December.  This will be available on the Police Authority website on Thursday 24 November: www.west-midlands-pa.gov.uk . Police Authority members will consider the proposal and the consultation process.

The website launched today details the analysis behind the proposed changes.  The research took place in September to see how often people visited front offices. It showed that, in those stations where the changes are being proposed, on average two people visited the front offices outside of core hours. A large number of those were solicitors visiting the custody facility.

Research also shows that the main method of contact for members of the public is over the phone. On average the force handles over 5,000 phone calls each day from the public and over 2,000 emails per month are received by the force’s “Contact us” email account alone.

Consultation has already started with local councillors, MPs and members of the forces KIN (Key Individual Network) – members of the public who take an active interest in policing – on how police can better provide different services to the public in the future.

In Bloxwich, however, Labour Councillors from Bloxwich and Blakenall Heath were already busy on Saturday, in one day collecting more than 1100 signatures from unhappy residents, to a petition calling for a rethink of the proposed cuts in Bloxwich police station hours.

The alterations to opening times come when the West Midlands force is being subjected to severe Coalition government cuts, meaning it has to save £126 million over a four year period, and management feels the need to review and rationalise its services as part of a modernisation programme.

Police insist however that cuts to opening hours will not impact on the way the force works within its local communities. Officers will continue to work within communities, patrol neighbourhoods and work with local people and partners to identify and solve issues of concern.

“We know that most people contact us today to by the phone or email rather than visit a front office,” said Assistant Chief Constable Sharon Rowe. “Therefore we propose deploying the staff who currently work in these front offices back into our contact centres to increase efficiency of our call handling and also it will release some police officers back to the front line.”

“Our demand analysis has shown that on average around two people an hour visit the front offices where the opening times are changing; which has prompted the proposal for change.  Nothing is changing to where officers work from and these changes will not impact on the way we work with local communities. This is about modernising contact and responding to match the service we deliver to how people in reality choose to access it.

“We are increasingly looking at using different methods of contact in order to interact with our communities.  We are making more use of use of social media such as Facebook and Twitter, which a growing audience use to communicate with us which allows us to talk to tens of thousands of people everyday.  Our main twitter account has over 26,000 followers and our main Facebook account has over 10,000 followers with hundreds of our officers also using social media to engage with local communities.”

“We have also established a new diary appointments system, which means that in many cases our officers will come to you, rather than members of the public having to come to us and wait at front offices.

Police have however consistently been at pains to tell members of the public not to report emergencies via email or social media, and many Bloxwich people, especially the elderly, poor and vulnerable, have no home internet access, and in some cases no telephone, calling this strategy into question.

People are invited to give their views via an online questionnaire on the force’s website www.west-midlands.police.uk on how West Midlands Police will provide services in the future.  People can also email their views via contactus@west-midlands.police.uk, or write to West Midlands Police, Lloyd House, Colmore Circus, Queensway, B4 6NQ.

Appeal for info after young mother robbed of Christmas money

Home Bargains, Bloxwich.
Home Bargains, Bloxwich.

Police in Bloxwich are appealing for information after a young mother had her purse stolen containing Christmas present money.

The theft happened in Home Bargains, Samuel Street, Bloxwich at approximately 2.15pm Tuesday 8 November.

The 22 year-old victim had gone into the store to buy Christmas presents for her two children. When she got to the till to pay for the goods she noticed her purse was missing.

Officers attended and viewed the CCTV and are appealing for any witnesses who may have been in the store at the time to come forward.

Police from the Bloxwich West neighbourhood team have also released a description of a woman who may be able to help with their enquiries.

She is described as white, aged approx 25 – 30 years with dark hair tied into a bun. At the time of the incident she was wearing a brown leather type bomber jacket and blue skinny jeans.

PC Teri Timmins, from Bloxwich police station, said: “This young lady had been saving for her children’s Christmas presents and is obviously devastated by the theft.

“We are appealing for anyone who may be able to help us trace the woman we would like to speak. Equally if anyone witnessed the incident and may be able to help us I would ask that they get in touch with us.

PC Timmins also had some advice for Christmas shoppers. She said; “The victim had placed her handbag over her pushchair handle. We would also like to remind people out shopping to keep an eye on their possessions at all times to stop opportunist thieves.”

Anybody with information is asked to contact PC Timmins on 0345 113 5000.

Keep ’em peeled for crooks on dark nights

Keep 'em peeled at night!
Keep 'em peeled at night!

Since the clocks went back last week the number of house burglaries reported to the police have increased by a small number.

The times during which many of these burglaries are occurring would suggest that burglars are targeting homes during the early evening on weekdays, and may well be looking for homes left in darkness. Continue reading Keep ’em peeled for crooks on dark nights

Police launch new non-emergency ‘phone number

WM Police Contact Centre.
WM Police Contact Centre.

WEST Midlands Police, together with other police forces in the region, is launching a new, non-emergency contact number for the public today (Tuesday 08 November).

The new 101 number is being introduced to improve access to police, ease pressure on the 999 system and to help tackle crime and anti-social behaviour.

The 101 service is part of a national programme to improve access to the police and will give the public an easy way to get in touch with the police for calls that do not require an urgent response.

The system will work by redirecting people’s calls, wherever they are in the country, to their nearest police force and is intended to be easier for people to remember.

Callers using the number will incur a flat rate charge of 15p no matter how long the call lasts and whether their call is made from a landline or mobile.

The 101 number should be used to report a crime or anti-social behaviour which does not need an emergency response. For example, it could be used to report a crime that has already happened, seek crime prevention advice or make police aware of local policing issues.

In an emergency, members of the public should continue to use 999.

The current central switchboard number – 0345 113 5000 – will continue to function.

Calls for 101 will be answered in the same way as the 0345 and 0845 numbers.

Neighbouring forces – West Mercia, Staffordshire and Warwickshire – are also adopting the new number from today. The number has already been launched across southern England and parts of Walesand is set to be rolled out nationally by early next year.

As with 999, calls to 101 will be handled 24 hours a day, seven days a week by specially trained staff who can deal with enquiries.

For people who speak no or little English, they can also dial 101 where their call will be connected with an interpreter. Callers who have a hearing or speech impairment can use a textphone to call: 18001 101; or in an emergency: 18000.

Local policing Superintendent Andrew Shipman said: “The introduction of 101 is one of the biggest changes in the way people can contact the police since 999 was introduced in the 1940s.

“The quick and easy 101 number will help with a wide breadth of issues that don’t require an immediate response and provides a universal, easy to remember 3-digit telephone number.

“The 101 number is also expected to reduce the number of inappropriate 999 calls enabling us to respond to genuine emergencies more effectively.

“We would remind the public that they should always continue to call 999 in an emergency – for example, when an immediate response is needed because a crime is happening, someone suspected of a crime is nearby, or someone is injured, being threatened or in danger.”

Warning on vehicle security

West Midlands Police logoBusinesses and residents in the Bloxwich area are being advised by West Midlands Police to check their vehicle security after a small increase in thefts from vehicles on and around Bloxwich High Street, with insecure vehicles being targeted.

Kevin Pitt, Community Partnerships Officer at Walsall Police Station, said “Shops and businesses, please ensure that vehicles are properly locked, and no property left on show, even if left for just a short period.  Residents, if you are shopping in the area please be vigilant for suspicious activity and if you see a vehicle (especially delivery vehicles) left insecure help us by reminding the driver that their vehicle is at risk.”