Valerie Vaz MP has raised concerns on rising crime and the closure of Darlaston Police Station at Business Questions on 1 February 2018, and has written to West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson.

Valerie Vaz MP said:

“I am alarmed that quarterly police figures show a 14% rise in recorded crime in England and Wales, the highest annual rise since 1992. Domestic burglary is up 32% and vehicle related crimes have risen by 18%.”

“I raised at Business Questions on 1 February 2018, the case of a young couple in Walsall South who just got married and had their wedding jewellery stolen, and another constituent who gave me a recording from a CCTV camera showing a gang entering a home and marching people upstairs to rob them. I called for an urgent debate or a statement from the Minister on how much more money will be given to local councils to protect local services.”

“The Government’s Police Grant Report was debated in Parliament on Wednesday 7 February 2018. The Police Grant for 2018/19 promised up to £450 million for the police, however, Home Office funding for local forces will be cut by at least £100 million. The Government are not protecting the police budget, and when it comes to taxes, it is simply shifting the burden on to local councils. West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson announced that he has increased the police council tax precept by £12, and said that ‘this amount will mean the equivalent of 190 officer jobs are protected’. The Home office have said that this increase will raise £9.5 million. Mr Jamieson has said that ‘West Midlands Police needs £22 million just to stand still’ and the increase ‘would still be a real terms cut for West Midlands Police’.”

“Police numbers are now at the lowest level in three decades. Since 2010 over 21,000 police officers have been lost, over 17,000 police staff and over 6,000 community support officers have been axed despite the Government’s promise to protect the frontline. I am opposed to the Government’s police cuts and voted against the Police Grant Report on 1 February 2018.”

“I have written to West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson because I am alarmed at the closure of Darlaston Police Station. It was only just refurbished and its closure will mean there is no operating police station in the whole of Walsall South. I have asked Mr Jamieson what the building is planned to be used for. There is a general perception in my constituency that burglaries and robberies are on the increase, particularly targeting the Asian community and their jewellery. Many people feel that the level of police service is not at the level it should be.”

“With police numbers at a historic low and recorded crime rising faster than ever, it is clear that the Government is not doing enough to protect the public.”