A group of residents from the Hollymoor and Great Park areas – supported by their local councillor – are looking into the possibility of hiring private security to patrol their streets.
A meeting was held at Hollymoor Church last week (Thursday 29th November) where a group of around 25 residents discussed the idea with Cllr Simon Morrall (Cons, Frankley Great Park), saying ‘people are scared’ and ‘enough is enough’.
Spate of crimes
The move comes in response to a spate of crimes – car key burglaries in particular – in the local area.
Local residents who attended the meeting said they did not feel safe and would like to see private patrols on their streets.
Some victims present expressing a dissatisfaction with the response of police to crimes like burglaries and car thefts.
Cllr Morrall said that police were not attending reported crimes in a timely manner, saying that often he turned up to speak to victims before they did.
Richard Burden MP, who also attended the meeting as a local resident, pointed out that the size of West Midlands Police force had decreased significantly over the last few years due to funding reductions.
Cllr Morrall responded saying he felt that the Police and Crime Commissioner was wasting money on a new police HQ, back office staff and officers on buses to catch drivers using mobiles phones.
Mr Burden expressed concern that local officers had not been invited along to address concerns with the service.
Cllr Morrall said that he had found that officers had not attended when previously invited to meetings and Mr Burden said he would help to arrange police representation for a future meeting on the subject.
After some discussion of the politics of policing levels and funding, Cllr Morrall turned the discussion to ways residents could make a difference.
He urged those present to join him in reviving the Streetwatch idea. A Streetwatch had been tried a couple of years ago on the Hollymoor estate, with local residents patrolling alongside police officers in their own area.
West Midlands Police are currently working with residents in areas across the city, including Weoley Castle, on similar patrols. A number of people at the meeting expressed a willingness to take part in resident’s patrols.
Cllr Morrall said he supported the idea – suggested by residents – of a private security patrol around the Hollymoor and Great Park areas, funded by those who could and wanted to contribute.
He said the patrols would not be intended to replace the police but rather to act as a first response and to deter criminal activity.
It is envisioned that private security guards could patrol the streets throughout the night, possibly being accessible to residents who needed their help through a mobile app.
‘Enough is enough’
One local resident – who has been working closely with Cllr Morrall on the idea and canvassing local residents – said that things needed to change, saying residents were scared.
The man, a resident of the Hollymoor area who did not wish to be named, said: “We feel unsafe in today’s society. We are reaching out for help.”
“Enough is enough.” he added. “Do we have to wait until someone is seriously hurt? If we have to put our own hard earned money in to this, we will.”
Cllr Morrall said that residents wanted to make a difference to their own community but said that this was not some form of vigilantism, saying: “[…]no-one wants that.”
If you are a resident of the Hollymoor or Great Park areas and are interested in finding out more about any future plans, email Cllr Morrall at Simon.firstname.lastname@example.org