Wolverhampton residents calling councillors late at night as 'unable to contact police'

Wolverhampton residents have been calling their councillors late at night because they are unable to contact West Midlands Police to report crimes, a meeting heard.

A call has been made for stronger links between neighbourhood policing teams and councillors in Wolverhampton
A call has been made for stronger links between neighbourhood policing teams and councillors in Wolverhampton

At a meeting of the council’s residents, housing and communities scrutiny panel last night, Councillor Phil Bateman claimed that information on the West Midlands Police website was "often out of date" and thereby "pretty useless".

A call has now been made for stronger links between neighbourhood policing teams and councillors in the city, following a report on community safety in the city.

Councillors at Thursday night's meeting heard a report on serious youth violence and ways in which potential problems could be prevented from arising at an early age.

Councillor Bateman for Wednesfield North told members he believed communications between local policing teams, councillors and residents could be improved.

“I’m unhappy because the information that’s placed on the website for people to read is often out of date, and therefore pretty useless,” he said.

“I wrote in early April this year about issues that related to the bus station where there were people on the vehicles with weapons and metal bars causing all sorts of difficulties, moving between locations by public transport.

“Those nights in April were absolutely red hot on our telephone with people coming to us. And why were they coming to us? Because they couldn’t get the police. It ought to be second nature to us to know where the police are and the way our area is being policed. I don’t decry any of the fine work the police are doing, but I do know communications are rubbish.

“It’s lamentable when figures aren’t up to date. The big issue for us councillors that we are getting on a daily basis is about police and crime. The fact that residents phone us when we are in bed to say they are being burgled, and can we do something about it because they can’t get the police, leaves us up all night and trying to get the police. It’s wrong.”

“We’ve got a brilliant police team in Wednesfield that is overworked and under strength,” he added.

Cllr Adam Collinge for Oxley said: “A lot of the issues we see, such as those relating to the bus station, are rising from an early stage out in our local communities. The people concerned are not all just coalescing in the city centre. The problems start a lot earlier.

“There is this risk with early exploitation, early grooming etc, that all comes down to the local offer with youth activities and facilities, and also the stability of our local neighbourhood teams who are not always as visible as we would like them to be.

“I think that is what is going to be key in making sure that from an early age we keep those kids from getting into trouble and becoming part of gangs or wider problems.”

Superintendent Simon Inglis of West Midlands Police told the panel: “Communications is at the heart of trust and confidence within our community.

“There was a meeting on Tuesday, and from that I tasked my chief inspector that I wanted each and every one of the neighbourhood sergeants to provide a certain level of information at every single PACT (Police and Communities Together) meeting.

“Moving forward, I have set that task and will be getting an update next week. In addition to that, what I have asked for is a monthly bulletin that will come out to councillors which will consolidate that information.

“What I don’t want to do is take officers away from frontline duties to collate that information, so I am working on a way to get clear, accurate information that allows you to communicate with your communities.

“The reality is that if I want people to feel safe and I want the next generation of people within the city to come and join the police, then I want them to feel confident that it is a successful organisation.”

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