West Midlands Police
[16.10.21] A WMP PACT meeting was held at the Quaker Meeting House on the 14th October 2021. It was attended by Scott Ohren and 4 other members of the neighbourhood police team plus Simon Trimmer (Watch Systems), Richard Green (Housing Officer) and local Councillor Deirdre Alden. Unfortunately, Sgt Flint was unable to attend. This is a report of the meeting.
Local crime statistics.
There has been a drop in the numbers of burglaries, robberies, thefts of motor vehicles and thefts from motor vehicles in the Edgbaston constituency.
In the period 1/1/20 to 2/10/20 there were 113 Burglaries, 63 Robberies, 99 Thefts of motor vehicle, 137 Thefts from motor vehicle.
In the period 1/1/21 to 2/10/21 there were 85 Burglaries, 48 Robberies, 73 Thefts of motor vehicle, 115 Thefts from motor vehicle.
The changes were consistent with those seen in other areas and thought to be consequent upon social changes secondary to the pandemic.
In response to comment from the floor it was not denied that detection rates remain at just 2% (nationally) for reported crime!
People were advised to use 999 for emergencies, 101 or Webchat for non-urgent matters. It was suggested that lately in light of numbers of staff working remotely away from telephone call lines, Webchat may elicit a faster response.
The Athletes Village will be at the Vale site and it is likely that this will result in local traffic restrictions and road closures but there are no details yet. In addition, there are games events (cricket, hockey, squash) taking place in Edgbaston and these will also have an effect on traffic but again details have not been confirmed
Personal Safety – three aspects were discussed
Members of the public when apprehended by the police –when stopped by a uniformed officer people may, in addition, to seeing the officer’s warrant card, ask to use the officer’s personal radio to speak with Police control to confirm the officer’s identity.
In answer to questions from the floor the police representatives agreed to take back to their superiors and communications team the idea that the public need more information both on what a warrant card should look like and how to use the police radio system
Advice was given for travelling alone. People were advised to (a) try to remain in a group, (b) stick with familiar places if possible, (c) stay in well lit areas if possible, (d) if driving keep the doors locked – even if stopped by the police!
In the latter situation people were advised to wind the window down and check identification as above before getting out of the car. In addition, it was confirmed that a safe walking route for students was being developed along Calthorpe Road.
The “call for Angela” scheme was described. This is a scheme primarily for anyone who feels himself or herself to be in a vulnerable situation in a pub. They can go to the bar and ask the staff to “call for Angela” this is a code message and should result in the individual being taken to a safe space and the police being called. The scheme is nationwide and has just been launched.
Begging – It was confirmed by Cllr Alden that BCC does offer housing to all. Members of the public were encouraged not to give money directly to beggars but if they wish to help, to consider donating to Streetlink, which is dedicated to helping rough sleepers. It was confirmed that begging is an offence under the Vagrancy Act but that the police try to deal with the matter by way of community behavioural orders and only resort to further action after breaches of such orders.
E-scooters – It was confirmed that only the “for hire” VOI scooters are legal. ALL other e-scooters are not legal (and not insured!) when used in public areas. VOI scooter users must be over 18, must have a provisional driving licence, should wear a helmet and should not be on the pavement. Scooters must only be ridden by one person and must not be used to carry goods e.g. shopping. All scooters have a licence number on the back and if a member of the public sees an offence being committed this number can be used to trace the offender. The trial of VOI e-scooters is currently extended to March 2022 and may be extended further. Go here and here for more on e-scooters.
Speeding – In answer to a question from the floor it was confirmed that recent “speedwatch” events had captured up to one speeding offender per minute on Augustus Road and Westfield Road! More “speedwatch” captures (these result initially in letters to the offender – tickets can only be issued by traffic police) will be arranged on request.
Parking – In answer to a question from the floor, it was confirmed that an offence of obstruction is committed (a) by parking on the pavement such that a mobility scooter or buggy cannot pass or (b) parking within 5m of a junction
Cllr Alden asked that any requests for yellow lines locally be submitted to her for the Council’s consideration. She also helpfully highlighted the significant difference between “no waiting” (5 minutes to move permitted) and “no loading” (no permission to stop in any circumstance!)
Next Meetings – Scott Ohren confirmed that it was the police’s intention to hold regular meetings for the whole Edgbaston Constituency as before at the Hallmark Hotel in due course. In addition, CRS may liaise to arrange further meetings if appropriate.
Edgbaston Police Team
Your local policing team are there to listen to your concerns and act upon the issues that matter most to you.
For more information about the Edgbaston policing team and up-to-date contact details, please see https://www.west-midlands.police.uk/node/2734