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West Midlands Police chief denies communities take law into own hands

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The West Midlands' most senior policeman today hit back at claims that parts of Britain are operating their own forms of justice as some minority communities take the law into their own hands.

Chris Sims said there was "no evidence" to support Chief Inspector of Constabulary Tom Winsor's claims.

Mr Winsor said that some ethnic communities were turning their backs on police and rarely, if ever, call them to deal with crimes as serious as murder and sexual assaults against children, instead dealing with them in their own way.

But in an unsual move, Chief Constable Mr Sims issued a lengthy statement today rejecting the suggestion.

He said: "The experience of West Midlands Police officers and staff who actively work day in day out with our communities could not be more different than suggested by Mr Winsor, assuming he's referring to West Midlands

"There is no evidence to suggest that the under reporting of crimes is a significant issue here in the West Midlands and that some communities therefore feel compelled to take the law into their own hands. However we're not complacent and we know there's always more we can do to build trust and confidence. In fact, I would very much welcome the opportunity to see any evidence which supports Mr Winsor's bold claims.

"As a force we enjoy excellent relationships with the diverse communities we serve and positively encourage members of the public report crimes to us.

"Major events such as the terrorist attacks on mosques across the Black Country last year saw key community representatives stand shoulder to shoulder with the police throughout the investigation and beyond. This is a typical example of our strong links with the community.

"Reports of hate crimes have risen over the past 12 months as a result of increased trust in police within communities and their confidence in our ability to thoroughly investigate offences and bring offenders to justice.

"In addition, West Midlands Police recently launched a long-running campaign strengthening the force's commitment to protecting vulnerable victims, focusing on five key crime types including child sexual exploitation, forced marriage and female genital mutilation. This has already resulted in many more crimes being reported to us. These are just some of the issues communities tell us affect them and matter most."

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