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Police & Crime Commissioner Simon Foster has failed the West Midlands & Let Down Solihull
It’s time we abolish the West Midlands Police & Crime Commissioner and hand the responsibility to the Mayor.
In the latest political game playing by the West Midlands Police & Crime Commissioner, Simon Foster wrote a letter to the Home Secretary Suella Braverman complaining about the funding and policing allocation for West Midlands Police.
This is unsurprising. It has become a common occurrence for Simon Foster to ignore the funding that the Conservative Government is pumping into the West Midlands Police budget.
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Under this Government’s plan to tackle crime - often criticised by the Labour Party - the West Midlands has benefited immensely. Since 2019, key steps have been taking in supporting residents across the county, including:
A £458,545 funding boost to make streets safer - it will go towards measures proven to cut crime, including extra CCTV and street lighting in communities alongside engagement work to change attitudes and behaviours to prevent crimes being committed.
£206,250 has also been allocated towards better equipping officers - more police officers on the beat shall now be equipped with tasers which is a great investment. It is echoed by the Government’s accomplishment of preventing 49,000 violent offences across England and Wales since 2019 through Violence Reduction Units.
944 new police officers have been recruited since September 2019 following the Government’s manifesto commitment to recruit 20,000 new police officers to boost local, community policing.
The West Midlands have seen a £49.6 million increase in its policing budget - The biggest and most important figure.
The West Midlands is thankful to have a strong team of Conservatives standing up for them in Parliament. My own MP, Julian Knight, has been a passionate advocate for keeping people safe and he has personally secured increases for police funding.
Despite all of this - the Police and Crime Commissioner is still unable to deliver and unable to keep crime down under his watch.
Foster believes that the right approach going forward is to see the closure of police stations - continuing the disastrous legacy of his predecessor - with the town centre police station in Solihull set to close in 2025. It is common sense that police stations need to be open in our communities - they must be constantly working, and not only to reassure the public that they are safe, but to deliver safety through action.
People deserve a police presence locally - Simon Foster’s actions show he does not believe in that, despite lip-service to the contrary.
If you don’t think it can get worse - it can. The Police and Crime Commissioner is soon set to receive new powers to act - but when he fails to act with his current powers, we cannot allow his authority to be extended.
There is only one solution going forward. We must merge the Police and Crime Commissioner’s job description and role into the West Midlands Mayoralty.
Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands, is proven to deliver for the people of the West Midlands - and he can be trusted to deliver for officers across our police service, and people can once again have faith in West Midlands Police to tackle crime.
This reform is vital and it is urgent. The Conservatives are delivering on tackling crime, whilst the Labour Party with Foster at the helm are increasingly focused on trying to score political points by challenging our new Home Secretary, Suella Braverman, on vital actions she is taking on national security and tackling the rise in illegal immigration.
The time is right for serious reform, before the situation worsens for our communities.
This is a guest article written by Mason Beirne.
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