Just four police officers now regularly get out and about on the neighbourhood liaison covering Highgate and Small Heath, a huge, poor and overpopulated area of inner city Birmingham. Official crime figures for the area are low, but this obscures the reality of everyday life for people in the area, many of whom don’t report crime or don’t trust the police.
Shootings, burglary, drugs are typical of many inner city areas across the country and in Highgate it is no different. But whilst these crimes catch the headlines, the elderly and ordinary people are often more preoccupied with less spectacular crime and anti-social behaviour, and these are issues which community policing can help to deal with.
So at St Agnes church on Conybere Street, Workers Party candidate Ed Woollard met with police and local residents this week to discuss issues raised on the doorstep and by the Bordesley & Highgate Residents Forum.
Residents spoke of public urination outside their homes as a result of the operation of sheesha venues late into the night, constant fly tipping and the reckless speeding through the streets.
Let’s stop speeding cars before a child get hurt
The Workers Party is currently fighting alongside families around Highgate Street for traffic calming measures to protect the young children who play in the street and dodge the cars as they cut through the area avoiding the heavy congestion on the inner ring road (which has only gotten worse with the implementation of the Clean Air Zone).
Police informed the meeting that the necessary monitoring which was undertaken prior to traffic calming measures being implemented was no longer carried out by the traffic police. The measurements are now conducted ‘out of the force’ which we assume means that it is contracted out. Presently the Police themselves don’t know how to go about proceeding, aren’t sure who to ask or what steps to take.
Residents can be sure that the Workers Party won’t accept this state of affairs. We’ll be meeting the police again in May and will discuss at the next residents forum (on Saturday 26 March) how to proceed despite this farcical delay.