Lib Dem candidate hits out after eight-hour wait for police in Dudley
A Lib Dem parliamentary candidate has criticised cuts to police budgets after officers took eight hours to respond to his report of a theft.
Ian Flynn, a candidate in Dudley North, witnesses a motorcycle being taken outside his house at around 2.40am on Sunday morning.
He says he reported the incident to West Midlands Police, but despite being told twice that officers were on their way they did not arrive until 10.30am.
Police say they chased the offenders for five miles before the pursuit became "too dangerous" to continue.
Mr Flynn says he wants to use the incident to highlight the impact of cuts to force resources.
More than £175 million has been wiped off West Midlands Police budget since 2010, while the force has lost more than 2,000 officers and Labour police and crime commissioner David Jamieson has closed dozens of stations.
Describing the incident outside his home in Dudley, Mr Flynn said: "It all happened so fast, and I was shocked at how young the perpetrators were.
"Once I realised what was happening and made known to them that they’d been caught in the act, I went inside to dial 999.
"What was really disappointing was that the police didn’t turn up until 10.30am – eight hours later – despite being reassured twice that they were ‘blue-lighted’ and on their way."
Responding to Mr Flynn's claims, a spokeswoman for West Midlands Police, said: "Police received a third party report of an attempted theft of a motorbike in Chapelfield Mews, Stourbridge just before 3am on November 17.
"The offenders made off on motorbikes having damaged locks to the bike they attempted to steal.
"Officers responded immediately and pursued them from Birmingham Street and through Merry Hill towards Russells Hall Hospital, but had to abandon the pursuit when it became too dangerous to continue.
"Officers contacted the victim and a report has been taken."
Mr Flynn said the closure of local stations in Dudley meant there were fewer officers on the beat in the borough.
"I don’t blame the brave officers on the streets," he added. "But the cuts have gone too far, to the point where we can no longer feel safe, and know that the police will attend when a crime has been committed."
He said the fault lay with the Conservatives, who started to cut police budgets in 2010 when they were in coalition with the Lib Dems.
Mr Flynn called for funding to be restored to "acceptable levels" and for the return of a police station "in every town".
Boris Johnson has launched a scheme to put 20,000 extra police on the street over the next three years, a move which Labour says will still leave forces short of frontline officers.
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