Ian Austin MP

Labour MP for Dudley North

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Austin says Mayor must stand up for the West Midlands on policing

Dudley North MP Ian Austin has said it is “vital” West Midlands Mayor Andy Street joins the campaign for fair funding for police in the West Midlands.

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Austin issued the call after the government announced responsibility for policing would be transferred from the region’s Police and Crime Commissioner and handed to the Mayor in advance of the elections in 2020.

The Dudley MP has been campaigning for fair funding for the region’s police, most recently arranging a meeting a fortnight ago for MPs of all parties with the Police Minister Nick Hurd and challenging the Prime Minister over cuts to budgets to tackle terrorism.

Austin highlighted figures showing:

Recorded offences rose by 11% in the West Midlands, with knife crime rising 17%, robbery by 20% and acts of violence by 20%.

Over the last seven years, the number of police officers has fallen by 20,000 and is lower than at any point since 1985.

Nowhere has been hit harder than the West Midlands where budgets have been cut five times harder than Surrey. 

In real terms funding for West Midlands Police has been cut by £145 million since April 2011 – a total loss of funding of 27%.

The total number of staff has been slashed, the number of police officers is down by 2,164, Police support staff have been reduced by 29% and the number of PCSOs by a staggering 53%.

Ian Austin said:

Now the PCC job is going to the Mayor it’s vital we have someone who will demand the government funds our force properly. Andy Street doesn’t seem to have said a word about policing and can’t be relied on to stand up to the government on this most serious of issues.

“Policing in the West Midlands has been hit harder than anywhere in Britain – five times harder than leafy Surrey. We’ve lost £145 million, 2,000 police officers and more than half our PCSOs. That’s why crime is rising, residents complain the police can’t respond to calls and local police stations are closing.”

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