Recently, readers learnt of the Police and Crime Commissioner’s decision to sign off on plans to close Solihull Police Station. I believe that this decision is wrong for our Borough and remain strongly opposed to it.
Over these past months we have learnt that the impact of crime here in Solihull is no less severely felt by its residents than those who live in the city centre. But whilst the average rate of crime in the borough is still lower than the national average, recent reports of rising crime levels; together with the news of the decision to close our police station, has only raised more questions about local policing.
When the proposal was first mooted, I wrote to the Police Commissioner to urge him to immediately put the plans on hold. I also organised a petition with Julian Knight MP (signed by over 3,500 people), calling for the station to remain open. Yet more than a month on, no further information has been shared with local residents about the future of policing in Solihull - only that the station will close in ‘late 2020’ and that a public ‘contact point’ will be considered.
Local residents deserve more than this and I remain deeply concerned by the absence of any real solutions to the problems closing a police station as large as Solihull presents. Instead, members of the public should have been presented with more information at the start of this process; including any alternative proposals for a replacement service and should have had the opportunity to take part in a full and fair consultation.
I would therefore like to see the PCC bring forward alternative solutions and listen to the voices in our community that are demanding Solihull keeps a fully-functioning police station.
This week I have written to David Jamieson to express these concerns and to seek reassurances on whether the Borough will directly benefit from additional investment in frontline policing as a result of this decision and, if this will lead to improved police responses. Furthermore, I have asked him to clarify which sites have been identified by his office as a potential location for Solihull Police in future.
I will seek to update residents of the progress in this case in due course.
Rt Hon Dame Caroline Spelman MP