SOLIHULL Police has undergone yet another shake-up as neighbourhood teams have changed boundaries across the borough.
But the force insists the number of ‘bobbies on the beat’ will remain the same.
An email seen by The Observer sent to Blythe, St Alphege and Shirley councillors from Solihull West Inspector Emma Thompson states: “We have been reviewing our demand/calls for service and natural community boundaries and the effectiveness of our neighbourhood policing set up to service our communities.
“As a result of this review we have taken the decision to extend the geography of the Solihull sector to incorporate the Blythe ward.
“This change will bring the communities of Monkspath and Hillfield together under the St Alphege neighbourhood team.
“The communities of Blythe below the Stratford Rd and west of the M42 (i.e Cheswick Green, Dickens Heath, Earlswood) will now be serviced by the Shirley neighbourhood team.
“To reflect these changes and to try to reduce confusion with the constituency boundaries, we will now – from a policing perspective – be calling the increased area Solihull West.
“We have waited until this time to make these changes to ensure that the Shirley team – which is taking the largest portion of the Blythe ward – is suitably resourced to manage this.
“We are still working on our external website to ensure the respective local communities know who to contact – I believe this will take another couple of weeks to finalise.
“Once this is in place we will communicate this change more widely to the public; please be reassured, however, that in the meantime we have been working closely with colleagues from the Rural neighbourhood team to get to understand the local area and key contacts.”
This comes just two weeks after the Police and Crime Commissioner, David Jamieson, gave the go ahead for plans to close and sell of Solihull Police station and 23 others across the force area in a bid to protect officer numbers.
Speaking after the changes had come into place Chief Superintendent Bas Javid from Solihull Police, said they have no impact on officer numbers.
He added: “These changes have no impact whatsoever on police officer numbers in Solihull and will actually mean that these communities are policed more effectively.
“The neighbourhood policing teams who will now be responsible for these areas are based much closer which will offer a better service to those communities.”
Shirley West councillor Tim Hodgson said: “I’m very concerned about these changes and the impact they will have on policing resources in Shirley.
“I have had a lot of feedback from residents who are very uneasy too.
“Adding the rural parts of Blythe, which have different policing needs to Shirley, will inevitably stretch resources and there hasn’t been any consultation about this.
“I am working with the Police to seek to minimise the impact of this decision on Shirley.”