War of words breaks out over Solihull's crime rates - The Solihull Observer

War of words breaks out over Solihull's crime rates

Solihull Editorial 23rd Feb, 2024   0

A WAR of words has broken out after it was revealed crime rates have risen in Solihull in the past decade.

Conservative campaigner, Captain Jay Singh-Sohal, has hit out after a Freedom Of Information request showed the total annual recorded crime now up by 66% compared to 12 years ago – while Labour has held the West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) role.

Since 2012 possession of weapons has increased from 72 cases per year to 326 in 2023 – it peaked in 2022 with 344 offences.

Violence against the person has more than double in the 12 years from 1,653 in 2012 to 6,602 in 2022, with the highest number of offences in 2022 with 7,531 cases.

However, drug offences have fallen from 513 cases in 2012 to 361 in 2022, the lowest was 191 in 2017.

Capt Singh-Soahl said: “I hear regularly from Solihull residents who are concerned about increasing crime and these numbers reveal just how ineffective PCCs have been over many years in tacking rising rates.

“Our residents are paying more for policing in the borough through their council tax but miss out on localised resources to tackle issues such as knife crime, robbery and anti-social behaviour. And Solihull police station is still being closed under Labour’s plans.”

The current PCC, Simon Foster, who was voted in during the 2021 election has hit back – saying government cuts to policing has had an impact on police presence, response times and conduct of investigations.

Mr Foster added: “For a decade, the government imposed reckless cuts to policing. We lost 25 per cent of our police officers, 50 per cent of our PCSOs and community policing was dismantled.

“The government supports a funding formula that costs West Midlands Police £40million a year and continues to require the people of the West Midlands to pay more local Council Tax for less local policing.

“That has had a serious adverse impact on police presence, response times, the conduct of investigations, the rights and welfare of victims, community safety and the ability of West Midlands Police to prevent, tackle and reduce crime and protect the vulnerable.

“However, notwithstanding these challenges, I am committed to constant and unremitting action to rebuild community policing and prevent, tackle and reduce crime.

“That is why the performance of the 999 and 101 service is now one of the best in the country with 90 per cent of 999 calls being answered in under 10 seconds; there have been significant improvements in response times; arrests are up from 3,200 per month to 4,200 per month; positive outcome rates have tripled from three per cent to nine per cent and total recorded crime has reduced year on year by nearly nine per cent.”

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