Roger Godsiff writes to David Jamieson about police cuts
9th October 2015
Mr. David Jamieson,
West Midlands Police,
Colmore Circus Queensway,
Birmingham B4 6NQ.
I have received notification from Richard Moore, the Birmingham East LPU Commander, that three Police Stations have been identified for closure in my constituency of Hall Green because they are no longer considered economically viable. These are Kings Heath, Sparkhill and Billesley.
Although these three Police Stations are not open to the public they are, particularly in the case of Sparkhill and Kings Heath, very visible Police buildings and they provide a local reassurance that the Police, even if the stations are not open to the public, are part of the local community and are actively engaged with combatting crime and wrongdoing.
I fully appreciate the savings that the Force has to make in its overall budget which, I understand, is in the region of £130 million by 2020 but we are getting to the stage now where further closures of Police establishments are becoming self-defeating. As you well know the general public consistently say that they want to see a visible Police presence in their community and they want to see Police based locally and patrolling the streets. They are not, in my opinion, particularly concerned whether the officers are full-time Police Officers or PCSOs or Special Constables. The important thing is that a Police uniform is worn and is very visible on the streets. It goes without saying, therefore, that the general public also have great reassurance when they know that there is a Police building in the locality from which the Police operate even if the building itself is not open to the general public. The days when the Police travelled around in cars are, thankfully, long since gone.
I know that you will be receiving representations from MPs throughout the region who are opposed to Police Stations being put up for closure in their constituencies and I also appreciate that, in an ideal world, you would be looking to expand Police activities and not reduce them but continually cutting back on clearly identifiable (and many cases much loved) Police Stations in order to maximise revenue from disposal of these assets is, I believe, going to undermine your attempts to keep as many officers out on the streets as is possible and I know that there is going to be a strong public reaction to the proposals to close the three Police Stations in the Hall Green constituency.