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Plea for police as violence soars in Walsall

By Alex Ross | Walsall | Crime | Published:

A desperate council plea for more police officers to help stem the rise of violent crime in Walsall is being made to the Home Secretary.

A cross-party move has been agreed by Walsall Council to write to Home Secretary Amber Rudd in a direct appeal for help.

It comes in the wake of the murder of James Brindley, who was stabbed to death while on the way home from a night out in Aldridge.

Other cases highlighted by councillors in the motion include:

The motion refers to a two per cent decrease in the number of West Midlands Police officers – including 200 from Walsall – since 2010.

And it states that there has been a recorded increase in crime across the past year.The cross-party move was proposed by seven senior councillors and passed at a full council meeting on Monday night.

The motion reads: “The council recognises the concerns of Walsall residents in relation to crime and the fear to crime. The council resolves to write to the Home Secretary and the Secretary of State for Local Government, expressing its concerns with regard to austerity measures and their effects on community safety.”

The council will encourage the borough’s three MPs - Eddie Hughes, Valerie Vaz and Wendy Moreton - and to join them in the ‘campaign’.

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Walsall North’s Conservative MP Mr Hughes is due to meet the region’s police and crime commissioner and the chief constable in the coming weeks to discuss the needs of West Midlands Police.

“Labour and the Lib Dems say the police need more money and an end to austerity,” he said. “But we are still a long way off balancing the books.

“I need to hear first hand what the police requirements are before I make any representations in Parliament.”

Deputy Chief Constable Louisa Rolfe, said: “Crime has increased across the country in the last few years, not just in the West Midlands, having fallen to record lows in 2012 - but crime rates are still significantly lower than a decade ago.

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“Total crime per head of population is lower here than in other metropolitan areas like Greater Manchester, Merseyside and West Yorkshire.

“We are determined to apprehend the people who cause the most harm in our communities.”

Figures from the Office of National Statistics show the amount of violent crime in Walsall which resulted in an injury rose from 1,826 in 2013/14 to 2,136 in 2016/17. Total crime rose from 16,069 to 18,626.

The council aims to upgrade 100 CCTV cameras across the town as part of a £543,000 investment to tackle crime.

The council did also bemoan the impact on budget cuts on CCTV coverage - but earlier this month it was announced more than 100 new and improved cameras will go live as part of a £543,000 programme to upgrade technology.

Alex Ross

By Alex Ross
@alexross_star

Chief Reporter at the Express & Star. Everyone has a story - tell me yours.

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