Police chief warns of stretched staff during Westminster summit with MPs
The chief constable of West Midlands Police painted a picture of a stretched force that was struggling to deal with the escalation in violent crime during a Westminster summit with MPs.
Dave Thompson met with around 15 MPs from the West Midlands at the event, which was organised by Birmingham MP Liam Byrne and also featured police and crime commissioner David Jamieson.
It came as the region struggled to get to grips with a worsening knife crime epidemic, which has seen the number of victims rocket over the past decade while police officer numbers have plummeted.
And the surge in knife crime and falling officer numbers were the main topics for discussion at the event.
Addressing MPs, Mr Thompson described an environment where more young people were carrying knives, and said there was often a rapid escalation from confrontation to the actual use of blades. He said his force was stretched to the point where it was unable to attend as many incidents as the public should expect.
Among those to attend the event were Conservative MPs Caroline Spelman and Andrew Mitchell, as well as Labour MPs Pat McFadden, Preet Gill, Jess Phillips, Eleanor Smith and Shabana Mahmood. Independent MP Ian Austin was also present.
Wolverhampton South East MP Mr McFadden said: “There is enormous and justified public concern over the level of knife crime. This is a national emergency and should be treated as such.”
Mr Jamieson said there had been “strong consensus” on the key issues on the key issues. MPs also pressed the chief constable on domestic violence and the issue of exploitation in supported housing.
Last week Home Secretary Sajid Javid held emergency talks with chief constables. He said: “I think police resources are very important to deal with this. We’ve got to do everything we can.”