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West Midlands neighbourhood watch chief says police plan 'common sense'

Stephen Trefor-Jones, chairman of Neighbourhood Watch for the West Midlands, has described the controversial decision to close police station front counters in Shirley and Chelmsley Wood as 'common sense.'

Shirley police station
Shirley police station

The head of Neighbourhood Watch for the West Midlands has supported the move to close three-quarters of police station front counters across the region, including ones in Shirley and Chelmsley Wood.

Stephen Trefor-Jones, chairman of Neighbourhood Watch for the West Midlands, has described the controversial decision as ‘common sense.’

West Midlands Police announced plans to close many of the police station front counters last week. Others will have their opening hours reduced and be manned by volunteers.

The move, which includes the closure of the front desks in Shirley, Chelmsley Wood and Acocks Green, is part of cost cutting measures by the force.

“If this allows us to have more police officers and PCSOs based in the community, then I am all for closing the front desks,” said Mr Trefor-Jones.

“Times have moved on and people are simply not using the front counters.

“We have got to use common sense here.

“I understand people’s concerns but gone are the days where people will leave their homes to report a crime. They are more likely to pick up the phone and dial 999 or use the 101 number.

“People have to remember that we have not got a bottomless pit of money and this will free up resources for us to get more police officers on the streets.

“A lot of the time those who are using the police station are doing so to surrender to their bail, so it is not actually being used for what it was originally intended for. I would call on all leaders to encourage people to back this move.”

Solihull’s town centre police station will drop from a 24-hour manned facility to one run from only 8am to 10pm.

Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson told the Solihull News this week there was £70 million in reserves for the West Midlands but much of the money has been spent on recruiting more officers.

“There was far too much money in reserves, to be honest. It is recommended that between £15 and £20 million should be kept in reserves.

“A lot of the money has gone on launching a massive recruitment drive to get more officers onto the streets and into the community.”

 

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