Dudley MP Ian Austin has renewed calls for local police to get a fairer share of funding as Dudley Police Station prepares to close to the public.
West Midlands Police announced in November that Dudley Police Station’s front desk would be closed along with 26 others across the region in an effort to meet funding cuts.
Police officials have now announced that the station’s front desk will close on Sunday 31st May leaving Dudley as the largest town in the country without a police station open to the public.
Austin has led the fight to keep the station open, presenting a petition of 2,200 people opposed to the closure in Parliament and meeting with Policing Minister Mike Penning to discuss local concerns.
The MP has now written to Home Secretary Theresa May urging her to offer West Midlands Police a fairer share of funding to protect frontline policing and keep stations like Dudley open to the public.
The way the Government distributes police funding means the West Midlands receives a comparatively smaller share than other forces, despite higher levels of crime. The region has the second lowest council tax precept in the country which means it relies on central government funds more than other forces and a flat-rate national cut hits the West Midlands harder than elsewhere. As a result West Midlands Police is losing almost a quarter of its budget, while Surrey will see its budget fall by 12%.
As a result West Midlands Police is being forced to axe 2,500 more officers in the next four years to save an extra £100 million on top of the £126 million lost over the last five years.
Ian Austin said:
“I’m very disappointed that Dudley Police Station will close to local people on Sunday, but I’m determined to keep fighting for the station.
“I’m urging the Home Secretary to listen to the 2,200 people who are against this closure and want our region to get a fairer share of police funding. I will keep speaking up for our station in Parliament and I’m meeting with the Chief Constable and PCC to discuss how we can keep Dudley from becoming the largest town in the country without a police station open to the public.
“We all know savings have to be made, but these closures and the loss of thousands of officers are a result of the government’s decision to give the West Midlands the deepest cuts to policing in the country.
“Local people want more police on the streets, more offenders brought before court and more criminals put in jail, so I will keep fighting for the West Midlands to get a fairer share of police funding.”