‘We don’t feel safe’ – residents fear Birmingham police stations will close

A group of Birmingham residents said they “did not feel safe” in the city after news of the closure of more than 20 police stations in the West Midlands.

Balsall Heath, Shard End, Kingstanding, Harborne, Digbeth, Handsworth and Nechells stations all face the ax.

The West Midlands Police cost-cutting plan has been criticized by some Brummies who fear for their safety with a shrinking police presence.

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The Quinton Police Station, which was stripped of its reception in 2018, is expected to be sold by spring 2022.

Residents told BirminghamLive they believe “the timing is bad” as the station’s closure is likely to “increase crime” in the area.

Quinton resident Ann Lowe said: “I won’t go out at night anymore because I don’t feel safe.

“I feel vulnerable. We have high rates of drug addiction, burglaries, auto theft and shoplifting.

“Our local police teams knew the area inside out. Now, even though the police come out, they don’t know the area.

“We no longer feel safe on the streets and we don’t want our police station sold to a developer.

“You have to think about our senior community. Our nearest police station will be in Bournville and it’s too far for most people. It could be two or three bus rides.”

Asif Khan moved to Quinton Lane with his family 14 years ago and said he noticed a drop in policing levels.

He said: “Everyone in our area is on edge. We regularly knock on our neighbors’ doors now if we haven’t seen them for a while. We feel the need to watch them and make sure that They are fine.

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“It’s not good for the stations in the city to close. Six months ago, I arrived home with my wife and she noticed that our side entrance had been broken into.

“It took the police two days to come to our house. We thought they would check the fingerprints, but they just advised us to change the locks.”

Connor McCormack, 23, told BirminghamLive that residents of Quinton “feel neglected” without a public police station.

“It’s like we’re not on the map,” Connor said. “Auto thefts have increased dramatically – we all feel very unsafe.

“People have to spend their own money on CCTV and car kiosks because they don’t feel protected – and that’s not fair.”

Commissioner Dominic Stanford (Con, Quinton) called on Police and Crime Commissioner Simon Foster to reopen the station as a multi-agency hub.

He would like it to be used for walk-in police surgeries and community training events.

Cllr Conservative Dominic Stanford

“Since the reception at Quinton Police Station closed, residents have reported feeling less safe walking the streets in our neighborhood,” Councilor Stanford said.

“They are increasingly concerned that the West Midlands Police have abandoned our community.

“It is imperative that community assets like the Quinton Police Station are not sold to private developers, but are maintained and enhanced through collaborative cooperation between the parties. “

Birmingham Tories have called for a council review of Mr Foster’s decision to sell stations across the city.

However, the ruling Labor Party voted against the proposals.

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Mr Foster has previously said the changes would save the force £ 5million a year, modernize the police field and protect officer jobs.

They were presented by Police Chief Sir David Thompson.

Sir David said in a meeting: “It is £ 5million a year that is being diverted to police and not to building maintenance. I think everyone would agree that is a good thing. “

He said the force was “absolutely determined to keep the teams based locally.”

He added: “Nowadays, more and more people are connecting with their local teams through social media, through Facebook and through the force website rather than going to the station – there is so still many ways to meet the team and we are doing it. a lot of work to get involved locally. “

Mr Foster said: ‘Since 2010 the West Midlands Police have lost £ 175million, and even after the recent and expected increase in the number of officers, we will still be 1,000 officers short compared to there is ten years old.

“I will protect the police numbers, while calling on the government to return our 1,000 missing police officers and provide a fair funding deal for the West Midlands.

“These plans will also save money, which will be reinvested in protecting essential police numbers to keep individuals and their families safe.”

“One hundred officer positions a year rely on the savings of £ 5million from the Estates program. Without these savings, the number of officers will decline further. “

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