FORCE FOCUS: David Jamieson's column: Difficult budget decisions - The Solihull Observer

FORCE FOCUS: David Jamieson's column: Difficult budget decisions

Solihull Editorial 3rd Mar, 2018   0


My job as Police and Crime Commissioner is to make difficult decisions in the best interests of local people. It is not my job to take the easy route. I have to do what is right to keep people safe.

As you’ve heard from me many times before, West Midlands Police has faced bigger cuts than anywhere else in the country and I have been clear the government needs to give more resources than it currently is to policing.

Just to standstill West Midlands Police needs £22 million extra a year, the increase in council tax brings in £9.5 million a year, meaning tough decisions remain.

You may have also read in recent weeks that I am having to look at West Midlands Police’s estate and how many buildings we continue to run to plug some of that gap in funding.

West Midlands Police have come to me with proposals that will protect 100 police officer posts by saving £5 million a year in building running costs. I am giving them serious consideration.

I am committed to ensuring that there is no reduction in the number of publicly accessible buildings. Where there are front desks where the public can report crimes and get in contact with the police, they remain. They may not be exactly be in the same place, but they will be protected. In Solihull for example there is a front desk and I am committed to ensuring that one will remain in the town centre, easily accessible to the public.

As crime is changing, I also have to make sure that West Midlands Police has the facilities it needs to protect people from emerging crimes, especially online crime. I am determined that does not come at the expense of reduced contact with the public. The public having access to their police service is at the core of what we do and will be remain.

I am also expecting the police to work more closely with other agencies, like the NHS, councils and fire service – sharing buildings where necessary, saving money, but crucially being more efficient and effective too.

To balance the budget however I am left with unenviable decisions, whilst making them I will do all I can to protect police numbers, as ultimately it is them who keep us safe, arrest perpetrators and protect us from harm.

David Jamieson, West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner


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