Police chiefs slammed for 'ignoring' Black Country in funding bid
Police chiefs have been accused of failing to invest in public safety in the Black Country after crime fighting funding was allocated elsewhere.
West Midlands Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner Waheed Saleem led a successful bid to secure £550,000 from the Safer Streets Fund – with all of the cash allocated to projects in Coventry.
It prompted a furious response from Conservatives in the Black Country, who have accused the PCC's office of ignoring increases in crime across the four boroughs.
Police chiefs have insisted that the Black Country will be "at the top of the list" for future funding bids.
Jay Singh-Sohal, the Conservative candidate for West Midlands PCC at next year's election, said: "We see once more that Conservative government funding is helping bail out the Labour PCC in an inner-city area he has failed to invest in; at cost to Dudley, Walsall and Wolverhampton, places ignored while crime increases.
"Our residents deserve better, and as PCC I will invest in safer streets measures and increase police presence across the Black Country."
A spokesperson for the West Midlands PCC said the region had received more cash than some larger areas such as London, and that it was allocated on the basis that Coventry had "the strongest bid".
"When the fund reopens we will be submitting more bids, with the Black Country top of the list," the spokesperson added.
“It is worth noting that we are also investing in lots of schemes to improve safety and security in the Black Country.
"This includes over £500,000 for local Community Safety Partnerships to invest in crime-fighting projects. We’re also helping communities overcome the setbacks caused by Covid-19 with a £200,000 community initiative fund and we’re investing a further £260,000 to tackle youth offending in the Black Country.
"In October last year we also launched the West Midlands Violence Reduction Unit in Wolverhampton and the VRU is now investing more than £3 million tackling the causes of crime in the Black Country and across the West Midlands."
PCC David Jamieson has also come under fire over his recently launched 'Fairer Force', initiative which aims to ensure West Midlands Police is "inclusive and diverse".
Eddie Hughes, the Conservative MP for Walsall North, said: "I’m saddened to see yet another initiative from the Labour PCC which will do nothing to cut crime.
"In Walsall, people would like to see the police focus on catching burglars or dealing with anti-social behaviour.
"Instead the legacy of this PCC will be one of gimmicks and photo-opportunities. He simply has no clue as to what the people of the region expect from their police force."