Pics supplied by Paulette Hamilton MP
Last week, a local resident told me that their 70 year old father “carries a personal attack alarm when he goes on his morning walk” and despite installing home security, does not sleep well at night. There are many people across our community who share the same concerns – that they feel unsafe and want more to be done.
Since 2010, the Tories have cut £175million from the West Midlands Police Budget that has led to over 2,200 fewer police officers, hundreds of police staff jobs slashed, and the closure of many police stations – most recently for our community in Kingstanding, where the station is currently being sold off.
The reality of more than a decade of cuts to policing has been devastating for Erdington, Kingstanding and Castle Vale.
Our community ranks as the second highest in the West Midlands for reported crime, and as crime hits a 20 year high, the number of people being charged is falling to a record low in England and Wales. Criminals are being let off and victims are feeling let down.
Recently, at a meeting I arranged in Stockland Green with residents’ groups and businesses on Slade Road, Birmingham City Council confirmed that they would be installing new CCTV cameras in the area. The announcement came as a huge relief to local people and traders as the CCTV cameras will help monitor and deter criminal behaviour, as well as assist the police when it comes to catching offenders.
In other parts of our community, despite their limited resources, I have been working with local police teams and held similar meetings to address crime and antisocial behaviour in Erdington and Castle Vale.
In Kingstanding, people have told me that following the closure of many youth clubs, young people have been left with nowhere to go. Our communities were once home to locally run youth centres that provided activities and a safe space for young people.
The first duty of the government is to keep people safe and our country secure – this is the foundation and the test for any government – but the Tories have failed.
13 years of Tory failure have left many communities, like ours, worse off and it will be left to a Labour government to pick up the pieces. For me and many others, that can’t come soon enough.
For more on Paulette Hamilton MP for Erdington visit www.paulettehamilton.org