West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner, David Jamieson, is under pressure to re-open the Community Police Shop in Balsall Common which was closed under his watch in 2016.
The decision to close the facility; which was staffed by volunteers, provoked criticism in the community and from the Meriden MP, Dame Caroline Spelman and Solihull MBC Cabinet Member, Councillor, Tony Dicicco (Meriden ward) at the time of closure.
Now, following a public meeting organised by Solihull Police in January, members of community has called for its urgent return.
In response to this request Dame Caroline and Meriden ward Councillors, Tony Dicicco, Ken Allsopp and David Bell have urged the Commissioner to act on the demands of the community.
Dame Caroline has suggest the shop may have a future home at the Library in the village where it could be run ‘at a reduced cost’. She also argues that that re-establishing a permanent police base in Balsall Common would help to ‘restore confidence in the community’.
In a letter to Mr Jamieson, the MP urged the PCC, to ‘reassess the decision to close the volunteer Police shop in Balsall Common’.
She went onto say that, ‘This issue was raised by residents at the public meeting in January and I understand that in addition to the frustration felt by my constituents following its closure, there was also significant opposition from local officers [at the time] when this decision was made’.
Cllr Tony Dicicco said,
‘Although Solihull has one of the lowest incidences of crime in the West Midlands, more recently the rate of increase in car crime and burglary was higher than in some neighbouring areas. We therefore need more resources to tackle this, which is why I am calling on the Police and Crime Commissioner to re-open the Balsall Common Police Shop.
‘The re-opening of the shop in the village would serve to make the police more visible in the community and give them a permanent hub in the more rural villages in the borough. It is for that reason that both Dame Caroline and Meriden ward councillors have written to the Police and Crime Commissioner to urge him to meet with us and local parish councillors to discuss the matter in greater detail. I would also encourage local residents to write to the PCC about this issue to make their feelings known’.