A PETITION protesting against the closure of Solihull Police station signed by hundreds of Silhillians has been handed to Parliament.
The petition against the West Mildands Police and Crime Commissioner’s, David Jamieson, decision to close and sell off the Homer Road station was presented to the House of Commons by Solihull MP Julian Knight.
The petition follows a campaign by Julian and other West Midlands Conservative MPs against cuts to rural and suburban policing.
In March Mr Jamieson approved controversial plans to save £5million a year by selling off 24 of the force’s buildings, including Solihull, in a bid to protect 100 officer posts.
Mr Jamieson said he will only give the go-ahead to release the police buildings once he is satisfied with the force’s plans to maintain a local presence in each area.
Previously he said stations would not close until a more ‘efficient’ one was opened nearby and these could be in the buildings of other public sector bodies such as the NHS or the fire service.
But as yet no definitive plans as to where the front desk at Solihull Police station will be relocated to have been released and the station has been earmarked for closure in late 2020.
Mr Knight said: “Crime is one of the issues most often raised with me by local residents, either in my surgeries or on the doorstep. I and many others are very concerned about the impact that closing Solihull police station will have on our community.
“It’s absurd that a growing town such as ours, which only a few years ago had two proper police stations, may soon have to make do with a ‘front desk’ – especially so soon after the Government delivered a £9.5 million funding boost for the West Midlands Police.
“Boroughs such as Solihull face distinct crime challenges from cities such as Birmingham, and a front-line base is a basic requirement for the sort of fast-responding, community-focused policing we need.”
Speaking after making the announcement in March Mr Jamieson said: “After £145million cuts since 2010 and with the level of funding from government being squeezed year on year, the force must continue to find efficiencies to protect officer numbers.
“Crime is also changing and I need to ensure West Midlands Police has an estate that is equipped to help officers and staff respond to those crimes. Whilst the threats we face change, the public still need access to their police. That is why these proposals ensure that the current number of public contact offices will be maintained at current levels.
“I am committed to ensuring that the police buildings released as part of this process create real social value, in addition to freeing up money to protect police officer posts.”