My latest Halesowen News Column

Over the past few months there has been increased concern about local crime, especially car theft, which I have been working with our neighbourhood police team to reduce. Some significant progress has been made, but there is more that needs doing.  One way of helping with this is changing the way we hold West Midlands Police to account.

In May last year we saw the creation of the Mayor of the West Midlands, and the election of Andy Street to be the voice of our region. Since then he has been working incredibly hard to get more investment in our transport network, developing a plan to fill the local skills gap and regenerating our local high streets.

Compare this to the woeful performance of the Police and Crime Commissioner, Labour’s David Jamieson, there is a real case for serious change. Like many other I feel it is now time to merge the two roles of Mayor and PCC so that we can bring down the cost of politics, increasing accountability and reduce crime in Halesowen & Rowley Regis.

It’s vital that all of our public services work closer together. By using the Mayor’s economy, skills and transport teams to work closely with West Midlands Police in tackling social issues that can impact on crime and anti-social behaviour we could see a significant improvement in crime prevention. Having a single person working positively with Government can deliver more resources. Since being elected as Mayor Andy Street has led the region in securing £1.7billion of new money for the West Midlands. 

The system at the moment can often be confusing and so it would be clear who residents turn to and there would be a single person in charge and responsible to you.

There are also considerable savings to be made by linking the two organisations there would be scope for savings, like office space, that could be redeployed into frontline policing.

The Labour Police and Crime Commissioner is encouraging people to reply to the consultation with a negative view.

If, like many, you think policing can be improved by bringing it into the Mayor’s remit then please take a few minutes to respond to the consultation.

More details here: www.wmca.org.uk/policeconsultation

And the survey is here: http://snapsurveys.wmca.org.uk/snapwebhost/s.asp?k=154220585923

It will only take moments and is an important subject so please take part and back the merger.