NEWS: Erdington to get permanent police Inspector as Rachel Derby leaves Birmingham force

Words & pics by Ed King

Erdington is set to get a permanent police Inspector, as the constituency’s temporary ‘top cop’ Rachel Derby will be leaving Birmingham to join the Staffordshire force.

After Erdington’s previous Inspector, Haroon Chughtai, left the constituency in January 2022 – being promoted to Chief Inspector to work in Counter Terrorism – Rachel Derby was the police’s trusted pair of hands who took over whilst a long-term placement was being found.

Nearly a year later and following a “robust HR process” from West Midlands Police, Erdington is about to welcome a full time Inspector to take over the Neighbourhood Police Unit (NPU) and deliver the on-street strategy for combatting crime in the area.

In the final recruitment stages, West Midlands Police will be announcing the name of the new Erdington Inspector “imminently”.

Currently on annual leave, Temporary Inspector Rachel Derby worked her last shift in Erdington on Friday 14 October – handing over to Police Sargeant Frances Clark, who stands as the coordinator for the local NPUs and has a proven track record in community policing.

A spokesperson from West Midlands Police told Erdington Local: “Temporary Inspector Rachel Darby developed excellent relationships with communities in Erdington during her time policing the constituency.

“Rachel is going to Staffordshire Police on promotion next month and is currently on a two-week period of annual leave before she officially transfers.

“In the meantime, Sergeant Fran Clark has oversight of Sutton & Erdington constituency as the coordinator supported by the senior leadership team which is not unusual when Inspectors are on leave.

“This includes a dedicated local policing Chief Inspector and Superintendent who have ownership and responsibility for Birmingham East Neighbourhood Policing Unit.

“We have robust HR processes in place to fill Rachel’s post. This work is currently being done and Rachel’s successor will be starting imminently.”

Since 2010, the West Midlands has seen £175m pulled from its policing budget – losing around 2000 officers, 25% in active service and over 50% allocated to community policing.

Erdington suffers from one of the highest crime rates in the city, with regular calls for more police presence from Erdington residents, community groups, and constituency stakeholders.

In December last year, a Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) was reinstated around Erdington High Street – giving local police the power to forcibly remove anyone from the ‘Restricted Area’ they suspect to be intoxicated or causing anti-social behaviour.

Despite being widely welcomed by many who live and work in the Erdington ward, since the PSPO came back into being – having previously operated until 2018 – some local residents feel the extended police authority has made minimal impact.

One Church Road resident, who lives a short walk form Erdington High Street, told: “I thought the idea of the PSPO was great, but it doesn’t seem to have made a difference.

“Earlier this year a man was nearly beaten to death outside Greggs. Things like that shouldn’t be allowed to happen on a busy High Street with a police station five minutes away.

“I can see the High Street from my kitchen window and I hear fights and drunken arguments nearly every night.

“We need more police on the street, plain and simple – at the moment the High Street is basically policed by the Street Warden and some very dedicated Community Support Officers.”

Paulette Hamilton MP has had tackling crime in the constituency high on her agenda since taking office in May this year.

The Erdington Member of Parliament will be bringing the West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner, Simon Foster, to discuss issues over crime with local partners in January 2023 – at her regular ‘Big Conversation’ event.

Simon Foster previously came to Erdington for a tour of the High Street with the late Jack Dromey MP in November 2021, and to meet with the newly formed Street Pastors.

During the visit he told Erdington Local: “My key campaign pledge is to rebuild community policing in the West Midlands because I think dismantling it was a big mistake; it was counterproductive, it’s a false economy.

“It’s really important that we have community initiatives like the Street Pastors, like Neighbourhood Watch, like Street Watch, Speed Watch, Street Wardens,.

“All of those different projects play a really important role in providing that help, reassurance, and support to local communities.”

NEWS: Erdington Skills Centre to review security after “targeted attack” on first day of term

Words by Erdington Local news team / Pics by Ed King

Erdington Skills Centre is reviewing its security measures after a student was stabbed with a machete in the college on the first day of term.

The attack happened inside the college at 3.30pm on Wednesday, 7 September with the victim sustaining a serious hand injury in what the police called “a targeted attack”.

The latest knife crime incident in Erdinton led the Vice Principal of the Edwards Road college to offer staff and students counselling due to its traumatic nature.

Vice Principal of Erdington Skills Centre, Ben Gamble, told Erdington Local the college is now looking to increase security and safety measures.

He said: “We do have security staff based at the centre and they will continue to work from the site.  We are looking to introduce other safety measures and will also be inviting police to come into the centre to talk to students.

“Each year we have a range of support for students and awareness of the impact of knife crime is part of this.”

He added: “Erdington Skills Centre is a thriving and welcoming community on Edwards Road, and we were shocked and saddened by what happened earlier this week.

“We are offering support to any of our staff and students who may have been shaken by the incident and our thoughts are with the person taken to hospital.

“We do have security staff based at the centre and they will continue to work from the site.  We are looking to introduce other safety measures and will also be inviting police to come into the centre to talk to students.”

A West Midlands Police spokesman said: “We were called to Edwards Road in Erdington just after 3.30pm on Wednesday to reports of a stabbing. A 16-year-old boy suffered a serious hand injury when he was attacked with a machete in what is believed to have been a targeted incident.

“He was taken to hospital. One man has been arrested on suspicion of wounding.

The spokesman added: “A weapon has been recovered and will be forensically examined. Witnesses have been spoken to and we are recovering CCTV.

“Anyone with information has been asked to contact us quoting log 2518 of 7 September. Get in touch via Live Chat at west-midlands.police.uk, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555.”

A second suspect was arrested in concerning with the stabbing and both appeared at Walsall Magistrates Court on Friday.

Parents took to social media to voice their concerns about safety at college.

One father posted on the Facebook page of Birmingham Metropolitan College, which runs Erdington Skills Centre, claiming his son was too scared to return to college.

Responding to the parent BMet said: “Police have confirmed that it was a targeted attack and two arrests have been made.

“We have security based at all our colleges as a general safety precaution and the actions of those staff, as well as teaching and support staff at the centre, have been praised by police.

“Security staff will continue to work from Erdington Skills Centre. We are also offering all students 1:1 counselling.”

For more on Erdington Skills Centre visit www.bmet.ac.uk/our-locations/james-watt/erdington-skills-centre or call 0121 446 4545

NEWS: Man feared dead by staff and public after “beaten unconscious” in attack at Greggs on Erdington High Street

Words by Ed King / Pics by Claire Marshall

A man was feared dead today after being “beaten unconscious” during a random attack in Greggs in broad daylight on Erdington High Street.

After entering the popular sandwich and fast food eatery at around 1-1:30pm, two men got into a sporadic altercation at the counter.

After apprearing to be friends, the larger of the two men viciously “stamp(ed) on him, punched him (the victim) in the face, and kicked him while screaming,” leaving staff and customers fearing the man attacked was dead.

After emergency services were called to the scene, the victim of the horrific afternoon assault was taken to hospital with “serious injuries” – although following immediate concerns West Midlands Police were able to confirm the brutal attack was “fortunately… not life threatening”.

After Greggs staff called the emergency services, a statement from West Midlands Police further confirmed:

“We are investigating after a man was beaten unconscious in Erdington High Street around 1.30pm today.

“The man, in his 30s, was taken to hospital where he remains with serious injuries, although fortunately they are not life threatening.

“A 36-year-old man was arrested at the scene on suspicion of wounding and remains in police custody.”

A spokesperson from West Midlands Ambulance Service added: “We were called to reports of an assault on High Street in Erdington at 1.26pm. Two ambulances and the West Midlands Care Team attended the scene.

“On arrival we discovered one male patient who was treated for seriously injuries before being taken to hospital.”

A local resident who was in Greggs at the time of the attack, saw first hand the random and violent nature of the one sided fight that broke out – in broad daylight, at a crowded busy high street establishment.

Not wising to be named, the local resident confirmed to Erdington Local: “I was at Greggs around lunch, when two men came in who appeared to be friends and got to the counter.

“Suddenly the bigger guy knocked the smaller guy onto the floor then proceeded to stamp on him, punched him in the face, and kicked him while screaming.

“He came back, attacked the guy again, then grabbed him by his feet sand dragged him to the door. I was sitting by the door. Two female staff got very upset, and one contacted the police.

“The two staff could not see him from the counter and one thought he was dead, and one of them pulled the metal shutter down. I shouted that the guy was moving and to stop lowering the shutter.

“He (the attacker) came back again screaming and stamping and hitting him (the victim), then pulled him out again.

“He was literally covered in blood, so I got the staff to bring over some tissues… staff contacted the police again, and eventually the ambulances and police arrived.

“While the injured guy was being attended to and four policemen stood outside the shop, talking to some people who had seen the attack outside, the attacker came back – somebody shouted to the police and they chased him round the corner and got him eventually by using a taser.”

NEWS: Vandals damage Queen’s Jubilee decorations from Spitfire Play Park on Castle Vale

Words by Ed King / Pics and video supplied by Yvonne Hughes

CCTV has caught two lads stealing decorative flags and ripping down banners from a children’s play park on Castle Vale, hours before the country woke up to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.

Paid for by local resident Yvonne Hughes, who lives on Castle Vale, the flags had been put up around the Children’s Play Park by Spitfire Way a week before – in preparation for the following weekend of jubilee celebrations.

But at around 1am on Thursday 2 June, two young men entered the children’s play area and began ripping down the decorations – captured on CCTV walking up to the park and plucking the flags from the railings.

Later one of the young men was seen pulling off one of jubilee the banners, also attached to the park’s railings.

Local residents were quick to challenge act of vandalism, with Gillian Graham asking: “Why do people always spoil other people’s pleasure,” and hoping the young men responsible “have a conscience and take them back.”

Other residents had seen the decorated park “yesterday and thought how nice it looks” whilst several gave reports of how they’d been worried about their own decorations getting vandalised or stolen.

Yvonne Hughes herself was angry at the attack, wanting to see Castle Vale “pull together” to tackle crime on the estate. But in the true blue stiff upper lip spirit of community, she added: “It’s not the flags, I can replace them.

“It’s just why, all they had to do is come and ask if I’ve got anymore – not come at 1 am in the morning (and steal the flags) … but never mind it won’t spoil tomorrow.”

Other residents were quick to offer support, rallying round to find new decorations for the Spitfire Way Children’s Play Area.

Recently elected Castle Vale Councillor Ray Goodwin asked for any evidence or CCTV footage of the crime so he could help “forward it to the right people”, whilst also joining others to help locate extra jubilee decorations to replace what had been stolen.

Cllr Goodwin told Erdington Local: “I am very saddened and disappointed to see the hard work and the pride residents have taken to celebrate the Queen’s jubilee ruined by mindless individuals.

“I will be supporting residents to report the vandalism to CVCH (Castle Vale Community Housing) and the police.”

From Friday 3 to Sunday 5 June, the UK will be celebrating the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee – marking the 70 years Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II has ruled over the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth countries, making her the longest ruling monarch in British history.

Born 21 April 1926, the young Elizabeth ascended to the throne in 1951 after the death of her father King George VI – retaining the name Windsor for the royal household, as it has been since 1917.

Vandals damage jubilee flags and banner – Spitfire Way Children’s Play Park

 

NEWS: West Midlands Crime Commissioner celebrates ‘fantastic job’ by Erdington Street Pastors

Words & pics by Ed King

On Saturday 13 November, the Erdington Street Pastors were joined on their morning patrol by West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner Simon Foster – walking with the team up and down Erdington High Street.

Celebrating the efforts of the Street Pastors, Simon Foster told Erdington Local: “My message to the Street Pastors is that they’re doing a fantastic job on Erdington High Street.

“I think it’s a brilliant initiative and I’ve been very pleased to support it as Police and Crime Commissioner.

“It really does help the neighbourhood police teams; helping them prevent crime, protect people, and ensuring that vulnerable people are kept safe.”

Erdington MP Jack Dromey, who also joined the Street Pastors and Simon Foster on patrol and talking to people on Erdington High Street, added: “The Street Pastors reassure the local community that the High Street is a welcoming place that they can go to.

“As Simon (Foster) has said, they reach to and put their arms around sometimes some of the most vulnerable in our community who have fallen through the net and as a consequence of which sometime behave badly.”

A global initiative, Street Pastors are currently active in over 240 cities and town across the UK – including 20 in the West Midlands alone. Twelve Street Pastors have been patrolling Erdington High Street since their ‘commissioning’ on Saturday 18 September.

Working with the police and local community leaders/groups, the Street Pastors help tackle issues around anti-social behaviour and public disturbances, whilst offering a friendly face for anyone who needs help or just wants to talk.

Pastor Rasaq Ibrahim is lead pastor at the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) in Erdington and Chair of the Erdington Street Pastors, who joined with churches across Erdington to bring the inititive to the area.

An active Street Pastor himself, Pastor Rasaq led the Saturday morning team on patrol with Simon Foster and Joack Dromey. He told Erdington Local: “It’s greta to have Simon (Foster) join us on patrol in Erdington, he has been humbly walking with us for two hours – meeting popel and seeing what we do.

“Erdington Street Pastor have been well supported by the West Midlands Crime Commissioner’s office and we look forward to building on that partnership.”

But since 2010 the West Midlands has had £175m pulled from its policing budget, seeing a drop of over 2000 police officers – around 25% of those in active service, and over 50% allocated to community policing..

Recently re-elected as Police and Crime Commissioner for the region, Simon Foster has put this top of his agenda.

He added: “My key campaign pledge is to rebuild community policing in the West Midlands because I think dismantling it was a big mistake; it was counterproductive, it’s a false economy

“It’s really important that we have community initiatives like the Street Pastors, like Neighbourhood Watch, like Street Watch, Speed Watch, Street Wardens, all of those different projects play a really important role in providing that help, reassurance, and support to local communities.”

A very real concern for many across Erdington, Jack Dromey has been hearing about street safety from local residents during sessions at his surgery.

He explained: “If you lose 2000 police officers, if you lose so much of the social fabric that diverts young people from crime, what you see as day follows night is a rising crime and that’s wrong.

“Time, and time, and time again I get people who come to my surgery – people I’ve met today on the High Street here with Simon (Foster) – who say, at the most extreme, we’re afraid to go out at night, we no longer feel comfortable in our community, on our High Street. That is absolutely and fundamentally wrong.”

For more information about the Erdington Street Pastors and to see if you can get involved email Pastor Rasaq at chair.erdington@streetpastors.org.uk

For more on the Street Pastors initiative visit www.streetpastors.org

NEWS: Erdington Street Pastors are now on patrol

Words by Adam Smith

The first Street Pastors were commissioned this week, with a ceremony taking on Saturday 18 September. The uniformed support workers are set to become familiar faces in Erdington patrolling the High Street.

The outdoor commissioning ceremony was held near Costa Coffee, where 12 volunteers from local churches were given the relevant powers by The Ascension Trust to become Street Pastors.

First launched in 2003 in Brixton there are now 240 towns and high streets in the UK where The Ascention Trust have trained volunteers to provide a reassuring presence during the day and night.

Erdington MP Jack Dromey and Assistant West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner Tom McNeil attended the service.

Erdington Street Pastors chairman Rasaq Ibrahim told Erdington Local: “This has been a journey of ten months to get to this point.

“We had a target of 20 pastors to start with but at the moment we have 12. We will be recruiting more in October and I urge anyone who believes they could be a street pastor to get in touch.

“Eventually we hope to patrol the High Street every day but for now we can only do twice a week, Mondays and Saturdays for a few hours at a time.”

He added: “We will engage with everyone on the High Street, no matter their race or religion, we want to be recognisable and be there to help people who need help.”

Mel Taylor, from Six Ways Baptist Church, was commissioned as a Street Pastor and is looking forward to starting his role.

He said: “I have lived in Erdington for a long while and have seen the difference food banks have made so I wanted to get involved.

“Through the foodbank I have got to see the problems local people face and I think being a Street Pastor will help me help others.”

Erdington MP Jack Dromey believes the new Street Pastors will make a difference to the High Street.

He said: “The High Street has been in decline for years and the launch of Street Pastors initiative is a landmark.

“What we badly need is local people, from the churches, patrolling the High Street combating crime and anti-social behaviour but also reaching out to the vulnerable.

“I think it is an outstanding initiative and will hopefully go some way to tackle people who are causing problems for the High Street.”

He added: “The Street Pastors along with the investment we hopefuly will get from the Levelling Up fund will make a huge difference to Erdington High Street.”

Assistant West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner Tom McNeil spoke to the Street Pastors and members of the public on the High Street.

He said: “We support the Street Pastors and are very grateful for the work they will be doing.

“The PCC Simon Foster is very aware of this project and is happy to be funding it and he has said he will go out with the Street Pastors as soon as is possible.

“The kind of work Erdington Street Pastors will be doing is so important because people will respond to them as they will know they are coming from a place of compassion, and they will be part of the community.

“The privilege is ours and we look forward to working with the Street Pastors in the future.”

If you believe you could be a Street Pastor email chair.erdington@streetpastors.org.uk and for more information – or visit www.ascensiontrust.org/street-pastors

NEWS: Erdington Street Pastors take to the streets with official ‘commissioning’ ceremony

Words by Ed King

Erdington will the see the ‘commissioning’ of twelve Street Pastors on Saturday 18 September, at a public event taking place outside Costa Coffee on the High Street from 11am.

From Saturday onward a dozen Street Pastors will be patrolling the streets of Erdington, after being officially welcomed into the community during a ceremony from the nationwide Ascension Trust  – who pioneered the original Street Pastors project in 2003 in London.

Working with the police and local community leaders/groups, the Street Pastors will be helping to tackle issues around anti-social behaviour and public disturbances, whilst offering a friendly face for anyone who needs help or just wants to talk.

A global initiative, Street Pastors are working in communities across the world – with teams active in over 240 cities and town across the UK, including 20 in the West Midlands alone.

Recruitment is also already underway for more volunteers, with plans to train a further 20 Street Pastors from October – who will be active across Erdington in groups of twos and threes from November 2021.

Speaking at the commissioning event for the first twelve Erdington Street Pastors on Saturday 18 September will be the West Midlands Assistant Police Crime Commissioner, Tom McNeil, who will be making the keynote speech to welcome the initial team.

Also addressing both the public and Street Pastors will be MP for Erdington Jack Dromey, Pastor Rasaq Ibrahim from the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), and a selected group of civic and Church leaders.

Pastor Rasaq is the Chair of the management committee for the Erdington Streets Pastors project.

Pastor Rasaq told Erdington Local: “The Erdington Street Pastors are a chance for the Church to get out onto the streets – to help, listen to, and care for the people of Erdington. They will be there to offer support to everyone, no matter what faith or background the Street Pastors will be there to help.

“Erdington has seen an increase in crime an anti-social behaviour and the Street Pastors will be working with the police to tackle these ills in our community.

“There are Street Pastors working in cities and community across the world, and they have been proven to help reduce crime and increase support for the community.

“The Street Pastors are going to give people in Erdington another layer of support and will be a visible helping hand on the High Street and further across the constituency.

“Anyone looking to join the Erdington Street Pastors should get in touch – we offer full training and support, taking in new recruits from October.”

For more information about the Erdington Street Pastors and to see if you can get involved email Pastor Rasaq at chair.erdington@streetpastors.org.uk

COURT REPORT: Coton Lane hit and run murderer, Tony Green, sentenced to 20 years behind bars – report from the courtroom

Words by Adam Smith / Crime scene pics by Ed King, profile pic & video courstesy of West Midlands Police

Tony Green has been sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum term of 20 years for murdering Shkelzen Taka outside an Erdington brothel in the early hours of Boxing Day morning.

The entire incident was captured on CCTV and West Midlands Police have released harrowing footage of the final moments of Mr Taka’s life – which helped the jury convict Green of murder.

At Birmingham Crown Court this morning Judge Melbourne Inman told 27-year-old Green, of Suffield Grove, he had used his car as a “lethal weapon” to kill Mr Taka who sustained catastrophic head injuries when a road sign Green’s car crashed into landed on his head.

Judge Inman said: “The injuries caused to Mr Taka were truly horrific. The pole struck him with such force it split his head into two. His brain was recovered separately.

“You continued to drive over him in reverse and back over him to get away. You drove away.”

The court heard Green and Taka, 28, had exchanged brief words outside Ayurveda Health Spa Sauna, Coton Lane, at around 6am as Green was leaving and his victim and friend were entering. From this moment Green, who had been drinking brandy and wine throughout Christmas Day, was then intent on seriously injuring his victim.

Green, hoping Taka would leave the brothel so he could attack him, then jumped on Taka’s car’s bonnet and smashed his windscreen.

The commotion caused Taka to leave the brothel, get a metal bar and try to hit Green’s Skoda. Green then reversed as fast as he could at his victim, escaping the scene after killing him.

Green denied being responsible for destroying evidence after his car was found on fire later that day saying the blaze was “bad luck”.

He also claimed he reversed by mistake after having had problems with the gear box.

The jury took just an hour to convict Green of murder.

Mr Taka’s siter Sonila said: “Shkelzen was a much-loved brother and partner and his family are devastated at his loss.

“The pain we feel is not easily cured – pain in the soul that breaks me into a thousand pieces.”

Judge Inman paid tribute to the victim as he began sentencing. Addressing the defendant, who was dressed in an Adidas tracksuit and had several family members in court, he said: “Shkelzen Taka was only 28 years of age when you killed him.

“He had his life before him. He had come to this country from Albania and supported his family.

“No-one listening to the statements of friends and family could fail to have been moved by the love clearly held by those who knew him and the depth of their grief. They are clearly going to find it difficult to ever come to terms with their loss.”

Judge Inman outlined several points when Green could have left the scene but was instead in a “highly aggressive state of mind” and was intent on murder.

Referencing Green’s previous convictions as a drug dealer the Judge said he was “not of good character” but took into account he had not been in court for violence before.

The minimum sentence the judge could have handed down was 15 years but he instead he sentenced Green to a minimum of 20 years behind bars.

Green shook his head when told the sentence and there were gasps of anguish from his family, one of whom said: “disgusting”. When led away to the cells Green gave his family a thumbs up.

Three family members of the victim sat in silence throughout the proceedings.

Detective Inspector Wes Martin, from the force’s Homicide Unit, helped build the case against Green.

He said: “This is a tragic case where a chance encounter has led to the death of a family man and the imprisonment of another for life.

“All too often impetuous acts of violence lead to tragedy as we have seen here.”

He added: “My thoughts remain with Shkelzen’s family who continue to mourn his loss.”

Mark Heywood, defending, said: “He is still a comparatively young man. He has a supportive family split between two parts of the country. This has been a terrible experience for all of them but I am sure nothing compared to the family of the unfortunate Mr Taka.

“He has always been deeply affected by the death regardless of how he chose to conduct the trial.”

CCTV footage of Tony Green damaging car and attacking Shkelzen Taka

Report crime, get prevention advice, and see the latest news from West Midlands Police at www.west-midlands.police.uk

NEWS: Coton Lane Boxing Day death could be deliberate hit and run

Words and pics by Ed King

A man was killed in a what is believed to be a deliberate hit and run in the early hours of Boxing Day morning, on Coton Lane off Erdington High street.

The victim, who is unidentified at the time of writing, is believed to be from outside of Erdington according to sources from the crime scene.

Attending police could not issue too much information as the investigation is underway but were able to assure local residents that they were not expecting more violence.

When Erdington Local asked officers on the scene about public safety, our reporter was told: “there is no concern of that nature.”

Officers from across the city were called in to help protect the crime scene, many who have been on site since 6am on Boxing Day.

Police cordoned off the High Street entrance from Six Way down to the corner of Harrison Road, with forensics concentrating on the murder scene on Coton Lane.

A blue tent had been erected around the victim’s body whilst forensic teams and investigating officers combed the area for clues – with the victim’s body eventually moved by coroners at around 3:30pm on Boxing Day.

One local shop owner, who wished to remain anonymous, told Erdington Local: “I closed up and left the shop at half two in the morning and nothing had happened. People are saying it happened at 3am; my neighbours live up the road and they could see some of what was going on.”

Detective Sergeant Nick Barnes, from West Midlands Police homicide team, said: “My thoughts are with the family of the man who tragically died this morning.

“We’re in the early stages of our investigation and I’d urge anyone who witnesses anything who hasn’t yet spoken to us, or anyone with any information or dash cam footage to get in touch as soon as they can.

“A family have lost a loved one and we need to find out what took place and who is responsible.”

If you have any information please contact West Midlands Police via live chat on our website or call 101 quoting log number 688 of 26 December.

 

NEWS: New police figures show 49% increasing in Erdington hate crimes during Covid

Words by Adam Smith

Hate crimes in Erdington have increased by 49% during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Inspector Haroon Chughtai revealed 130 more people were victims of hate crimes between April and December, compared with the same period last year.

In his December email to Erdington locals, Inspector Chughtai said: “Around hate crime, there has been an increase of 49% which is around 130 extra victims of crime.

“There are no clear patterns or highly concentrated geographies – rather it is a real mixture of neighbour disputes, road rage incidents, abuse of retail staff and police officers.”

He added: “Hate crime is deplorable and something I will talk about in more detail in future messages.”

Hate crimes are those incidents in which the victims feel their race, sexuality, disability, or religion were the motivating factor for the preparators.

The shocking increase coincides with the COVID-19 pandemic and two lockdowns.

Inspector Chughtai has previously outlined the sharp increase of domestic abuse and violecne as relationships were put under extra strain due to lockdowns and coronavirus restrictions. As the year draws to a close, the shocking amount of victims of domestic abuse in Erdington proves another the human cost of Covid.

He said: “Domestic abuse has seen the most significant increase this year, around 45% – which is an extra 600 victims of crime and equates for just under one quarter of all the crime in Erdington.”

There has been a 17% increase in overall crime which equates to 1,400 more victims of crime in the area compared to last year. 

However, 2020 will be remembered for how the pandemic affected everyone and how police officers have had new challenges to face.

Inspector Chughtai said: “2020 has been a year I guess none of us will ever forget or truly get over, we have all had our lives changed and suffered in different ways and like all major events it has brought both the best and worst out in people.

“When I think of the best, I draw out people like the Erdington Task Force who have been extraordinary in how they have stepped up, the Stockland Green Action Group who have come together and in a short space of time played a big part in holding us and our partners to account and making the community safer.

“Places of worship who have stepped up and started food banks and other services to support their congregations and the wider community to get through this.”

Erdington’s top cop had a further message for offenders who have used the coronavirus lockdowns as cover for their violence and bullying.

He said: ”For me, the worst is the perpetrators of domestic abuse – who have taken advantage of the restrictions and made life unbearable for their victims, we will continue to everything to bring them to justice.”

 

If you believe you are a victim of domestic abuse or violence, call the freephone 24-hour National Domestic Abuse Helpline on 0808 2000 247 – for help online, visit www.nationaldahelpline.org.uk or www.refuge.org.uk

To make an anonymous report about any crime, effecting yourself or others, call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or visit www.crimestoppers-uk.org

To receive updates from the Neighbourhood Policing Teams in your area, visit www.neighbourhoodalert.co.uk  

To find out more about Erdington’s police force, visit www.west-midlands.police.uk/node/2710

For a list of support services, as compiled by members of the Erdington Task Force, visit www.erdingtonlocal.com/covid-19-local-support