The Labour Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) for the West Midlands is proposing to close 24 buildings across the force area to save some £5 million a year in ongoing costs. The closure list includes Harborne police station, but other buildings closed in Birmingham include Quinton and Edgbaston.
One big impact would be on our Neighbourhood Policing Team. The police station on Rose Road is the base for our Neighbourhood Police Team. It's closure would mean they will either have to travel in from Bournville Police Station or find another nearer base. One suggestion in the PCC's paper is that they could co-locate with fire stations - in our case the nearest is Woodgate Valley. This would clearly be better than Bournville, but would still mean wasted time at the start and end of each shift, getting to and from the fire station.
We believe in the importance of our Neighbourhood Police Team. The Lib Dems led a debate in Full Council calling on the Government to increase funding in Neighbourhood Policing. Our motion was passed following a minor amendment.
Neighbourhood Policing survived the post crash cuts in reasonable shape for many years, but the past couple of years have seen significantly increased demands on police time, coupled with further cuts from the Conservative Government. It's a tough situation, but we believe closing our police station, without having already identified a new base, in Harborne, for our Neighbourhood Police Team, would be a major mistake. The Lib Dems are committed to protecting and increasing the role of the Neighbourhood Policing Teams in our city.