Birmingham Residents Patrol Streets to Tackle Rise in Crime

Residents in Handsworth Wood will start patrolling the streets in an attempt to help tackle crime in the area.

Street Watch, a joint partnership between police and local communities, has been introduced after 215 crimes were recorded there throughout February.

Though they have no powers to make arrests, volunteers receive special training from the police and are expected to commit to a minimum of two hours per month.

West Midlands Police said: “Patrols are non-confrontational and aimed at improving neighbourhoods by identifying issues such as graffiti and criminal damage.

“We have seen a huge improvement in community confidence and information sharing with the local policing teams.”

A risk assessment is also undertaken to ensure all parties are protected as much as possible.

Narinder Kaur Kooner, councillor for the Handsworth Wood ward, said: “None of us are professionals in this field but residents want to be able to look after our families and neighbourhood.”

Inspector Iftekhar Ahmed of West Midlands Police, who co-ordinates Street Watch, said: “Street Watch has operated well across the country.

“In the space of three months, we have set up schemes across the whole of the West Midlands and currently have 125 members, with interest growing on a daily basis. We are hoping to have 500 new members in 2018.”

Sukhvinder Kaur, a street watch warden, said: “Residents are usually happy to see us and there is a sense of reassurance that we are watching the streets. We have had people stop and speak to us and even come out of their homes.”

Community activist Desmond Jaddoo also welcomed the Street Watch initiative and said: “There is a greater need for partnership between the police and local communities.

“Communities have a proactive role to play in crime prevention.”

He spoke of the need for Street Watch to be able to tackle the differing issues in each neighbourhood and the fractured relationship between police and some communities.

He said: “More often than not, communities feel that the police pick and choose the crimes they respond to. It’s all about building bridges because people need to regain trust and confidence in the police.

“For areas like Handsworth Wood, there is the issue with the high rise in burglaries and fly tipping where as in places like Newtown, the issues are drug abuse and the high percentage of gun and knife crimes.

“You have to make sure the mechanism works for each individual area and that it’s sustainable.”


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