NEWS: Armed police storm house on Hillaries Road in pre-planned operation following knife attack in Kingstanding

Words by Adam Smith

Armed police stormed an Erdington house this afternoon tasering a man who was arrested in connection with the stabbing of a pensioner in Kingstanding.

In a pre-planned operation, dozens of police officers surrounded the house on Hillaries Road as a negotiator tried to convince the man to give himself up peacefully.

The operation had been organised by West Midlands Police after threats had been made against the force by the man – the scale and size of the response was in relation to potential danger to officers and civilians.

Erdington MP Jack Dromey confimed the orchstrated actions of the force later in the day.

He told Erdington Local: “I have been kept closely informed by West Midlands Police about the incident on Hillaries Road in Stockland Green. This was a pre-planned operation that was targeted at a specific individual who was wanted in connection with a serious crime.

“Understandably, the scenes have been disturbing for local residents. I welcome therefore the deployment of a large Police presence to ensure the situation was kept under control and to minimise any potential risk to those living nearby.

“The Police acted swiftly and decisively in apprehending the individual and I would like to thank them for their hard work in keeping the people of Erdington safe.”

During the raid, frightened residents were told to stay inside their homes as the drama played out with Hillaries Road witness describing the events as “terrifying, deeply upsetting and concerning.”

At 3.30pm the police operation concluded with a 49-year-old man being tasered, arrested and taken to hospital.

A West Midlands Police spokesman said: “A man has been arrested following a stand-off at a property in Hillaries Road, Erdington, this afternoon.

“The road was closed as firearms officers secured the scene and a force negotiator encouraged the man to come out peacefully.

“He was arrested at 3.30pm after a Taser was deployed and is being taken to hospital for minor injuries sustained during his arrest.”

The spokeman added: “The 49-year-old has been detained in connection with an attack on a man in Cooksey Lane, Kingstanding.

“The man in his 70s was taken to hospital although thankfully his injuries were not serious.”

The pensioner suffered a “slash wound” on his head during the attack on Sunday afternoon.

An air ambulance landed at nearby St George’s Playing Fields and after the victim was found there remained a large police presence on Cooksey Lane.

A West Midlands Ambulance spokesman said: “We were called to reports of a stabbing in Cooksey Lane on Sunday at 4.45pm.

“An ambulance, paramedic officer and the Midlands Air Ambulance from Cosford with a MERIT trauma doctor and critical care paramedic on board attended the scene.

“Crews treated one man who had sustained serious injuries which required trauma care on the scene. The man was conveyed by land ambulance on blue lights to hospital for further care.”

The previous day, Saturday, a 27-year-old man was stabbed in Witton Lakes Park, off Perry Common Road.

Three men punched and stabbed their victim in what the police described as “a targeted attack.”

The latest two incidents mirror a worrying increase in knife crime across Kingstanding and Erdington after the murder of schoolboy Dea-John Reid on College Road during May Bank Holiday weekend.

EXCLUSIVE: Council reduce housing plans for Short Heath playing fields – following a year long campaign from local residents

Words by Ed King / Pics by Ed King and Estelle Murphy

Birmingham City Council are pulling back on their plans for a new housing estate on Short Heath playing fields, cutting 18 houses from the originally proposed development of 84 – Erdington Local can exclusively reveal.

Following over 12 months of a fiercely fought campaign to ‘Save Short Heath Playing Fields’, Council Leader Ian Ward is meeting with local residents today to explain the new plans face to face – which will see a 21% reduction in new homes being built on the site.

Tensions have run high over the past twelve months, as friends and neighbours became community campaigners to stop the Council building on the beloved green space – used by young and old across the area for social activities.

Birmingham City Council have been identifying sites across the city for new houses as part of their Birmingham Development Plan (BDP) – responding to a housing crisis which could see tens of thousands of families without a home in the next decade.

However, residents of Erdington, Perry Common, and Stockland Green – the three wards that embrace the playing fields – have been fighting to have their voices heard after the original public consultation was heavily criticised.

In the revised proposal, Birmingham City Council are also promising up to £1million investment into remaining the green space and neighbouring Bleak Hill Park – earmarked for health, wellbeing, and sports facilities.

In an update sent to Erdington Local direct from the Council Leader’s office, the new development plans will include ‘off-site provision for sports and recreation to a maximum value of £1milllion.’

The possible seven figure sum now on the table will be used for ‘a green corridor leading from Short Heath Road down to Bleak Hill Park’ and ‘new football pitches and a small changing room.’

In the original development plans, the playing fields were to be used for 84 houses – with money outlined for sports and education but no clear reinvestment into the local community.

In a message directly to local residents, Birmingham City Council Leader Ian Ward said: “I want to thank the residents of Erdington for engaging with us.

“We’re determined to provide more high quality affordable homes for the people of Birmingham, but we understand the need to work with communities, so we’ve listened and our new proposal takes into account the feedback we received to the original plans for this site.

“In Erdington and across the city, there’s a clear and urgent need for new social rented homes. Hopefully the new proposals can deliver some of those homes while also retaining green space and providing leisure facilities.

“This is a growing city and the Birmingham Development Plan, adopted in January 2017, forecasts a population increase of around 156,000 people by 2031.

“That means 89,000 additional homes, with 51,000 of these to be built within the city boundary, so sites like Short Heath are key to helping us meet this need.”

Spearheaded by Short Heath Fields Trust (SHFT), local residents who formalised as a trust earlier this year, the campaign has attracted the attention of several high ranking public officials – with Erdington Councillor and Leader of Birmingham Conservatives Robert Alden attending several public meetings on the site and offering continued support.

Recently re-elected Mayor of the West Midlands Combined Authority, Andy Street, also made a personal visit to the playing fields, promising to “do everything I (he) can” to save the green space, adding “it’s not even a debate whether houses should or should not be built – I cannot understand why they would be built here. It cannot happen.”

Jack Dromey MP for Erdington has also been in talks with SHFT for over 12months, acting as a mediator between campaigners and Council – bringing the concerns of local residents directly to the Leader’s office.

He told Erdington Local: “The open spaces of Short Heath are near and dear to the local community and local people have been rightly concerned.

“They recognise that the Council must build badly needed homes but wanted a say in the future of Short Heath.

“I have worked with them and Council Leader Ian Ward to arrive at a way forward that sees new homes and better facilities for the community, preserving the integrity of Short Heath.

“The Council must continue to listen and move further but real progress has been made.”

However, Short Heath Fields Trust and many across the community were hoping for a more significant reduction in the number of new houses to be built – understanding a compromise must be reached but wanting more of the green field site to remain accessible to local residents.

There is also growing concern over the strain any new houses will put on the local infrastructure, such as GP surgeries and schools.

Chair of Short Heath Fields Trust, Stephen Hughes, told Erdington Local: “Obviously we are disappointed with the Council’s proposal, we want far more for our community. But today is a chance for our community to have its say and we hope to be heard at last.

“Going forward we will continue the Trust’s work to establish Bleak Hill Park as part of the community and bring it to the same standard as surrounding parks, as a member of Birmingham Open Spaces Forum.”

Estelle Murphy, from the recently formed Short Heath Residents Action Group, added: “Short Heath Residents Action Group will be there to ask the questions those unable to attend today have sent in.

“Once we have gauged the feeling of all interested parties, we will decide exactly what our next move as an Action Group will be – to save this parkland and over other issues than effect our community.”

Council Leader Ian Ward introduces new plans for housing on Short Heath playing fields

For more on Short Heath Fields Trust visit www.shortheathfieldstrust.godaddysites.com/

For more on the fight to ‘Save Short Heath Playing Fields’ click here to visit the campaign’s Facebook page

NEWS: Council Leader Ian Ward to visit Short Heath Playing Fields with new housing proposal

Words by Ed King / Pics by Ed King & Estelle Murphy

The battle to ‘Save Short Heath Playing Fields’ has been fought for just over one year, with residents becoming campaigners in July-August 2020.

Now the highest office in the city is coming to address the matter in person, as Birmingham City Council Leader Ian Ward meets local residents on Friday August 20 – with a new plan for the proposed housing estate.

Cllr Ward will be on Short Heath Playing Fields from 1pm to 3pm discussing the Council’s revised proposals for the green space, previously earmarked for 84 new homes to help address the city’s social housing needs.

Local residents and concerned citizens are invited to attend the Leader’s address, which has been long called for by the Short Heath Fields Trust (SHFT) – a local action group spearheading the campaign to save the parkland.

Jack Dromey MP for Erdington is also scheduled to attend, following more than 12months of negotiations with SHFT representing the local concerns directly to the Leader’s office.

He told Erdington Local: “For over a year, I have been working to bring all parties to the table in an effort to reach an agreement over the future of Short Heath Playing Fields that is acceptable to both Birmingham City Council and the local community.

“I listened to the concerns of local residents, who felt their voices were not being heard, and have brought key stakeholders to the table on a number of occasions over the past 12 months.

“There have been ongoing and robust discussions during that time, but I’d like to thank both the City Council and local campaigners for their willingness to engage in a dialogue over the future of the playing fields.

“I am pleased that Ian Ward, leader of Birmingham City Council, will be visiting Short Heath to meet with campaigners and discuss the proposals for the site.

“I made a commitment to ensure the voices of local campaigners would be heard at the highest level of Birmingham City Council, and I am honouring that commitment by helping to arrange this visit.

“I sincerely hope that an agreement can be reached on the future of Short Heath, and that all parties can work together in support of our local community moving forward.”

A Birmingham City Council spokesperson further confirmed: “This is the latest in a series of meetings with campaigners and Erdington MP Jack Dromey to discuss the site and possible ways forward.

“We’re working with the community to ensure that any future development on the site works for the local community and the city as a whole.”

Eager for local residents to voice their concerns directly to the Birmingham City Council Leader, Short Heath Fields Trust have been canvassing those living near the playing fields and reaching out further through social media.

Campaigners are concerned that the time of the Leader’s visit, 1-3pm on a Friday afternoon, will exclude many people as they would still be at work.

In a statement to Erdington Local Short Hearth Fields Trust said: “It is vitally important that anyone who has an interest in the former playing field site comes down to join the conversation.

“There won’t be another opportunity to have the ear of the Council Leader and the MP for Erdington at the same time again regarding this, at least not for a while and our community deserves a voice.

“They will be on the site at the Short Heath Road Entrance to Bleak Hill Park between 1pm and 3pm this Friday.

“Have your say and hear first-hand what they have planned for our park space.”

For more on Short Heath Fields Trust visit www.shortheathfieldstrust.godaddysites.com

For more on the fight to ‘Save Short Heath Playing Fields’ click here to visit the campaign’s Facebook page:  https://www.facebook.com/groups/1007069176404521/

NEWS: GKN workers have ‘exhausted every avenue’ as voting begins over strike at Chester Road factory

Words by Adam Smith / Pics supplied by Unite and Jack Dromey MP

GKN Driveline workers have received their ballots for strike action and union bosses are urging them to vote yes.

Unite the Union held an online meeting last night to discuss industrial action and received messages of solidarity from workers across the world.

GKN Unite convener Frank Duffy, Unite West Midlands Regional Secretary Annmarie Kilcline, and Erdington MP Jack Dromey all spoke at the meeting – as well as some of the 519 workers who face redundancy if owners Melrose close the Chester Road factory.

Workers who are making their minds up about whether to strike have already been threatened by Melrose management.

Frank Duffy said: “Workers have been given letters threatening them if they vote yes in the ballot. They were returned to management and then letters were sent to home addresses but again the workforce brought them into the factory and told management they were not listening. I could not be more proud of them.”

If workers strike they will lose pay and bonuses, but Unite the Union is already fundraising for workers welfare during the potential strike.

Erdington workers have been joined in solidarity by workers in Florence, Italy, where Melrose is also closing a factory, leaving thousands more employees jobless.

Mr Duffy believes they have been forced into taking the last resort, industrial action.

He said: “Melrose has undermined this factory for years, the internal market of GKN consistently meant our factory lost out but we were told it was fine because the rest of the company was profitable.

“There are 51 sites across the world but just one in the UK, where the business started, and they are closing this one. Germany would not allow it; France would not, and our Government should not let this scandal happen.”

“They have paid lip service to the workers throughout this sham, they call it a consultation but I call it a sham, but as soon as they made the decision to close us down in January that was it.

“We have done everything possible, including creating an alternative business plan for the plant, but we were ignored.

“We’ve had seven months of hell but are now at a point when they have to listen to us – that’s why I am urging everyone to vote yes on their ballot for industrial action.”

Erdington MP Jack Dromey has been holding weekly meetings with Unite officials since the Melrose revealed its closure plans, which he warned would happen during its hostile takeover of the British engineering institution in 2016, as well as lobbying the Government to take a more proactive role.

He said: “GKN has a remarkable 262 years of history which can be traced back to when it provided the cannonballs for the British to fight Napoleon. The company contributed to the building of the Spitfire which helped defeat the Nazis.

“The Chester Road factory is a vital part of the future of electrification of the industry and cannot be allowed to close.”

He added: “I know the workers have exhausted every avenue available to them and that is why I am backing their decision to take industrial action.

“For every worker who will lose their job at GKN a further two will lose their jobs in the supply chain.”

Several workers made emotional speeches during the meeting describing how much GKN Driveline means to them and their families.

Robert’s family has clocked up 74 years of work at the Chester Road site with his father and grandfather working at the plant before him.

Stuart Turner said: “I’ve been at the factory near enough from school and I know what a devastating impact its closure will have on surrounding areas like Erdington and Castle Vale.

“We need to send a message that we will not back down.”

Unite West Midlands Regional Secretary Annmarie Kilbride revealed a hardship fund has already been set up in anticipation of a strike for workers who will have their wages docked.

She said: “We need the Government to step in if they are serious about levelling up and keeping skilled jobs in this country.

“I urge everyone to support these GKN workers in whatever way they can.”

The result of the ballot for industrial action will be revealed at the end of July.

To find out more about GKN Automotive visit www.gknautomotive.com
For more from Unite the Union visit www.unitetheunion.org
For more from Jack Dromey MP for Erdington visit www.jackdromey.co.uk  

NEWS: Careers Fair from Compass Support at The Sanctuary 18th August

Words by Ed King

Compass Support are organising a Careers Fair on Wednesday 18th August, being held at The Sanctuary on Tangmere Drive in Castle Vale.

Free to attend and open to ‘candidates from all backgrounds, experiences and education levels’, the Careers Fair will run from 10:30am to 2:30pm – offering direct pathways to local employers, as well as help and support with key vocational skills.

Compass Support have lined up a team of professional employment advisers, who will be on hand throughout the event to talk and walk people through skills such as CV writing and how to do well in interviews.

They will also be offering more direct employment support, such as on the spot job searches, work experience placements, volunteer opportunities, and links to local employers.

The Careers Day will also offer access to digital courses in IT, Maths, and English.

Anyone interested in attending can simply turn up on the day or contact Compass Support by emailing employmentadvice@compass-support.org.uk or phoning (0121) 748 8111.

A spokesperson from Compass Support told Erdington Local: “Happening this week at The Sanctuary, our local Careers Fair is a chance for people to speak with employers and training providers about opportunities available.

“We are also offering support with employability skills to help people progress into their ideal field of work – offering the support you need today for the success of tomorrow.

“There will also be one to one support tailored to the individual’s needs, including CV writing, job searches, training and employment all under one roof.”

With a longstanding history of helping people find employment and become work ready, Compass Support has close ties to the retail and care sectors – alongside strong relationships with large employers such as the NHS.

Compass Support also offers employment help and skills training through regular job clubs, computer clubs, and the Get Healthy Get Working programme – alongside the Ignite Aspirations initiative, delivered with Witton Lodge Community Association.

As part of The Pioneer Group, further employment support can also be found through the Place2Work project – being delivered across Birmingham with the Birmingham Anchor Network.

For more employment advice and access to services from Compass Support email employmentadvice@compass-support.org.uk or visit www.compass-support.org.uk/our-services

For more on Get Healthy Get Working visit www.compass-support.org.uk/our-services/get-healthy-get-working

For more on Ignite Aspirations visit www.compass-support.org.uk/our-services/ignite-inspirations or  www.wittonlodge.org.uk/our-projects/jobs-skills/ignite-aspirations

For more on Place2Work from The Pioneer Group visit www.pioneergroup.org.uk/place-2-work

NEWS: Council warning as ‘spell casters’ and ‘spiritual healers’ target Erdington residents

Words & pics by Adam Smith

Birmingham City Council has warned local residents against paying for black magic spells which are being offered to people across Erdington, the Local can reveal.

Fliers offering ‘black magic’ and ‘love spells’ to solve relationships woes, mental illness, job seeking, and court cases have been delivered to homes on Slade Road, Marsh Hill, Erdington Hall Road, and Reservoir Road in recent weeks.

The claims on the fliers include getting husbands and wives who have left their partners to be ‘returned immediately’, breaking the resolve of stubborn children, and an ability to bring fame and success.

Erdington Local handed the fliers, from two separate ‘spell caster’s, to Birmingham City Council Trading Standards.

A spokesman said: “We’d advise anyone to be wary of this sort of thing and advise against handing over large sums of money.

“If anyone has concerns, they can contact trading standards via the Citizens’ Advice Bureau.”

Cheick Mahamadou Lamine describes themselves as a ‘Spiritual Healer and Love Spell Caster’.

Their flyer boasts: ‘I can help you with love and relationship matters, exams, business, luck, family problems, career, court cases, job seeking, depression, serious illness, buying and selling property, fame and success in business.

‘Quick and Positive results GUARANTEED – Payment after results.’

Shaikh Drame’s flyer claims he is: ‘The first man to combine the power of spirituality no matter what your problems are I can help you solve them.

‘Even desperate cases e.g relationships, work and business difficulties, for those who feel unlove, unhappy and unlucky, I can remove evil spells and bad luck. I can help a person who is looking for leadership and popularity.’

Drame even claims to be able to get spouses to return to a relationship they have left.

He states: ‘If your loved one, husband or wife has walked out on you I can help bring them back immediately with the most powerful spells.”

Worryingly, Drame also promises to work with children who do not obey their parents – raising safeguarding concerns for any young people involved.

He further promised: ‘I can bring stubborn children to listen and cure people who use alcohol and tobacco. Follow the path of relief and lead the life of happiness.’

Trading Standards in Sandwell successfully prosecuted a bogus love doctor who promised clients his spells could improve fertility and fix relationships in 2010.

Niem Mohammed, who drove around in a Ferrari and a Bentley, charged a Smethwick couple £9,000 for breaking a black magic spell and help them have children – he was jailed for 18 months and ordered to pay the money back.

He also took £1,300 off a woman to help fix a broken relationship, but when nothing happened he told her he needed a further £1,800. He then threatened to send a ghost to destroy her home and family if she did not pay up.

Erdington Local has asked both Lamine and Drame for a comment but at the time of publishing have not received a reply.

If you have been affected by any of the issues raised in this article – or want to talk to Erdington Local about your experiences – email adam@erdingtonlocal.com 

For help and guidance from the Citizen’s Advice Bureau visit www.bcabs.org.uk

NEWS: Council ‘in talks’ with developers over potential new plans for Pype Hayes Hall

Words by Adam Smith / Pics by Ed King

The owners of Erdington’s historic Pype Hayes Hall have met with Birmingham City Council to discuss the future of the Grade II mansion house.

Bromford Mill Properties bought the hall, which dates back to 1630, for £25,000 in 2014 and announced £11,000,000 plans for a 60 bed luxury hotel, spa, and swimming pool – but no application was ever submitted to Birmingham City Council.

However, Erdington Local can reveal council planning officers met with developers about a new application for the hall, which is in Pype Hayes Park.

Simon Delahunty-Forrest, from Birmingham City Council’s planning and regeneration department, refused to reveal details of meeting but confirmed it happened.

He said: “The council are in talks with the applicant regarding the future of the house it would not be appropriate to share any details as the discussions have not yet been formalised and are not in the public realm.

“The council planning team were giving informal feedback before a pre-application is submitted.”

Pype Hayes Hall was built after a marriage between two of the Midlands’ most famous families, the Ardens (Shakespeare’s family) and Bagots, in the 17th Century. Pype Manor was part of the dowery of Dorothy Arden who married Hervey Bagot in 1625.

Bagot built the hall in 1630 and lived there until he died fighting for the Royalists in the Battle of Naseby, 1645. The Bagot family lived in the house for the next 250 years.

Originally known as ‘The House of the 13 Gables’ due to its roof design, which was a sign to persecuted Catholics it was a safe haven, there is also believed to be an escape tunnel from the hall for priests.

After enlarging the house and selling 700 acres of land in 1888 for the creation of Minworth Sewage Works, the family finally sold the hall to Birmingham City Council in 1920 – subsequently used as a convalescence home and children’s home.

Erdington author and park user Patrick Harley lamented the state of the hall.

He said: “It is a crying shame what has happened to the hall and it upsets me every time I walk past it.

“The state of it is getting worse and worse, hopefully Birmingham City Council will step in and compulsory purchase the hall to save it for future generations.”

Pype Hayes Councillor Mike Sharpe had previously told Erdington Local about his growing concerns about the hall’s future.

He said: “I keep on asking questions but cannot get an answer from anyone, Birmingham City Council’s planning department does not know anything.

“We should all be proud of Pype Hayes Hall, it is beautiful, has a lot of history, and could be turned into a real asset for the community.

“I am worried it is just being left to go to wrack and ruin and if that is allowed to happen it will be a tragedy.”

With added fears the owner’s plans for a luxury hotel and spa have been shelved, and developers are now looking to turn the historic landmark into apartments, Cllr Sharpe added: “I do not want the hall turned into homes because a road would need to be built through the park for that to happen.”

For more on Pype Hayes Hall from Historic England click here

NEWS: Bagot Arms pub burns down in ‘deliberate’ arson attack

Words & pics by Liam Smith

Smoke billowed across North Birmingham yesterday as over 40 firefighters tackled a blaze at the old Bagot Arms pub at the Tyburn Road roundabout.

West Midlands Fire Service (WMFS) were alerted to the fire by “multiple calls from the public” at around 5pm on Thursday August 5, dispatching seven fire engines to the scene.

Pumping water from the canal, emergency services shut down several roads around the area – including the busy thoroughfares Eachelhurst Road and Tyburn Road.

Firefighters worked tirelessly to control the blaze until late in the evening, finally starting to reduce the number of fire engines at the scene at around 10pm.

WMFS Station Manager Mark Hudson, who was Incident Commander at the site, told Erdington Local: “Our engines arrived on the scene very quickly to a fully developed fire in the roof space and on the ground and first floor.”

“The pub is void/derelict and due to the multiple sources of fire within the pub it is likely that is has been started deliberately. We have attended a number of incidents here previously, so we are comfortable in saying that the fire has been started deliberately.

“There isn’t anybody injured as far as we are aware. We still need to conduct a full search of the building; we have been unable to up to now due to the fire spread and also the damage to the building.

“At the moment we are focusing on defensive firefighting (putting the fire out) until we get the go ahead from the structural engineer.”

“There are currently seven fire engines, including two specialist resources which consist of a hydraulic platform, which can apply a lot of water at height and a high-volume pump, which is taking water directly from the canal and being pumped into the fire.

“Eventually we will be scaling back our resources but for now we remain in place”

In a previous statement, West Midlands Fire Service Group Manager Rob Davis told Erdington Local:

“First call received at 17:02 with a large amount of multiple calls from the public. We had seven fire engines with supporting vehicles and 45 firefighters attend this incident. We also deployed our high-volume pump to supply water from the nearby canal.

“This was a derelict public house due for demolition and there were no persons involved. Following an investigation by our officers this fire is believed to be started deliberately.”

Seven fire engines and 45 firefighters tackle blaze at Bagot Arms

For more from West Midlands Fire Service visit www.wmfs.net

NEWS: Police warn knife crime has “increased drastically” across Erdington after Dea-John murder

Words by Adam Smith / Pics by Ed King

Knife crime has “increased drastically” in Kingstanding and Erdington since the murder of schoolboy Dea-John Reid during May Bank Holiday weekend.

West Midlands Police officers are now conducting more searches of people, public places, and parks for knives – and warned young people not to carry a weapon for self-defence.

Kingstanding PCSO Meg Skelding explained in an email to local residents about the sudden spike in knife crime.

She said: “There has recently been an increase in knife crime within Kingstanding and the surrounding areas. This has increased drastically within the last month even after a young male lost his life to knife crime.

“We need to work together now more than ever to help decrease the amount of knives that are on our streets, please have a word with your young people about the dangers of carrying a knife and even more so about the effects of using a knife.”

Schoolboy Dea-John Reid, aged 14, was stabbed to death on May Bank Holiday Sunday on College Road.

Tensions ran high after his murder which also sparked a massive outpouring of grief – culminating in a vigil at the spot he died, attended by more than 1,000 people.

His funeral was held in Lozells in private last month as his family did not want the service to become a magnet for crowds.

Bishop Desmond Jaddoo, who organised the vigil and advised the Reid family, is unsurprised the police have revealed knife crime has increased.

He told Erdington Local: “I understand there have been several serious incidents since the Dea-John’s murder. I have also been told there has been an increase in racially motived crime too.”

Bishop Jaddoo had targeted Kingstanding last year as an area which needed life-saving bleed control kits installed in local shops and businesses.

He said: “Our research showed after inner city Birmingham, Kingstanding was the area where young people were in danger because of knife crime.

“So, it does not surprise me there has been an increase in knife crime because the problem was already there and the murder has made the situation worse.”

Tragically before locations were found for ten bleed control kids in the area, Dea-John was stabbed to death on College Road, a crime which shocked the entire community.

PCSO Skeldon believes the high-profile murder has led to more young people leaving their home with knives in the misguided belief they will be safer.

She added: “The majority of stabbing victims are stabbed with their own knife that they have taken out for protection.

“If you have concerns about someone or are worried that they might be being drawn into the peer pressure of carrying a knife, then please do not hesitate to get in touch.”

Specialist anti-gang officers have been operating in Erdington and Kingstanding and have succeeded taking dangerous knives off the street.

On Friday West Midlands Police’s Birmingham Organised Crime and Gangs Team tweeted: “Plain clothes officers had cause to stop and search two males on Wheelwright Road in Erdington yesterday evening.

“Both males arrested following the recovery or these awful weapons. There is no excuse! #LivesNotKnives.”

For advice and guidence from West MIdlands Police on knife crime visit www.west-midlands.police.uk/your-options/knife-crime 

To locate a Weapon Surrender Bin in your area visit www.westmidlands-pcc.gov.uk/tackling-violence/weapon-surrender-bins 

NEWS: Stockland Green to get £432,000 anti-crime investment from Government’s Safer Streets Fund

Words by Adam Smith

CCTV and other anti-crime measures will be installed in Stockland Green after a £432,000 grant from the Government’s Safer Streets Fund.

The West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner and Birmingham City Council applied for the money after a rise in crime in Stockland Green attributed to increased exempt housing in the area.

As well as CCTV, improved lighting, and security gates, the money will be used to clamp down on burglary, robbery, and vehicle theft.

The Government promised more funding will be available to target changing the behaviour of some men, so women and girls feel safer.

The West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner Simon Foster said:

“After years of essential preventative public services being starved of funding it is good to see we’ve been able to secure some additional money to make small, but not insignificant, improvements to our streets.

“We know there are simple things that can be done to prevent crime and, working with the council, we intend to use this money to do them.

“We’ll tighten security where we think it can be tighter and make sure CCTV is fitted in crime hotspots.”

Councillor John Cotton, Birmingham City Council’s Cabinet Member for Community Safety, said: “This is very welcome news and will be a real boost to our efforts to tackle anti-social behaviour and support the community.

“The Council will be working closely with residents, the PCC, and the police to make sure this extra money helps to deliver a safer neighbourhood for everyone who lives or works in Stockland Green.”

Erdington MP Jack Dromey welcomed the cash injection after constituents complained about the changing nature of Stockland Green, blaming a mushrooming number of HMOs on the increase in anti-social behaviour and crime.

He said: “I have been contacted by numerous constituents who are worried, many say they do not feel safe in their local area.

“Securing almost half a million pounds from the Safer Streets Fund will help protect local communities from crime by funding the installation of additional street lighting to deter criminals and the fitting of CCTV in problem areas so we are able to catch those committing crimes to ensure they are brought to justice.”

He added: “I’d like to pay tribute to West Midlands Police, Birmingham City Council and local campaigners who have worked hard to secure this funding that will improve the lives of residents in Stockland Green.”

For the latest news from West Midlands Police visit www.west-midlands.police.uk/news