Today, Tuesday 14 December, Preet Kaur Gill MP has opened a debate in the House of Commons to challenge the Government on funding for neighbourhood policing and its fair funding across the West Midlands.

In her speech she called on the Government to give local Police forces a fighting chance of tackling crime following 11 years of Conservative Government cuts to the West Midlands which has seen more than 2,220 officers lose their jobs, a further £175 million of funding removed from West Midlands Police’s budget and more than 20 Police stations earmarked for closure.

Preet Kaur Gill MP said, “We’ve seen how crime across Birmingham and the West Midlands has increased dramatically over the last decade, and I worry about the future of policing should this continue. With these dramatic cuts to our neighbourhood policing, it comes as no surprise that the West Midlands has the fourth highest rate of crime in the country, and it is residents that are feeling the impact and are being let down when they most need help.

“Neighbourhood policing is all about preventing crime and building relationships in the communities where officers serve. However, the direct result of these funding cuts means that West Midlands Police are operating on a reactive basis.  Across Birmingham, we’re seeing neighbourhood Police officers coming off shift at 11pm which means the safety of the whole city is left to central response. If you’re one of my constituents in Bartley Green or Quinton and are in a life-threatening situation, because you are so far out from the city centre, that’s at best a 15-minute wait. It simply isn’t good enough.”

This approach also has an impact on prosecution rates. Between 2010 and 2020, the percentage of crimes that end in a charge or court summons has halved, with justice for victims of violent offences at an even worse rate.

Gill continued, “Ultimately, all of this means that West Midlands Police can’t meet the demands for its services in protecting vulnerable people with the resources it has. That isn’t right and is why I’m proud to work alongside our PCC Simon Foster and my parliamentary colleagues to prioritise police officers, because it is police officers that keep you and your family safe. I hope this debate brings this disastrous approach to light and to fight for a policing service that is fit for the future.”

The West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner, Simon Foster said, "Reckless government cuts have dismantled neighbourhood policing, with numbers dropping in the West Midlands from 1,821 in 2010 to 760 in 2018. That was a big mistake. It was counter-productive and a false economy. We have all been being paying the price with less justice, safety and security. This is why I have launched a cross-party campaign for a fair funding deal for West Midlands Police to help us get officer numbers back to 2010 levels.

"My core mission during my term of office will be to rebuild community policing. Community policing is the bedrock of British policing. It embodies the principle of policing by consent on which policing in our country is built. It provides the preventative, proactive, problem solving and visible policing that the people and communities of the West Midlands want.

"I will begin the crucial work of rebuilding it to keep people, their families and communities safe. As a start, on my mission to rebuild community policing, I will aim to put 450 additional officers into neighbourhood policing, strengthening the local bonds between the public and the police and improving our ability to proactively solve local issues before they become critical. Much more government support is needed to get back to the community policing levels we had a decade ago."