Cracking down on crime in Walsall town centre
Officers from the St Matthew’s neighbourhood policing team are working tirelessly to keep Walsall town centre safe during the run up to Christmas.
The on-going regeneration of the town means new business areas are emerging and more and more people are visiting the area, especially during the festive period with visitors coming to shop and enjoy the vibrant night-life that Walsall has to offer.
Listening to concerns raised by residents and businesses in the town, the team is tackling shoplifting, pickpocketing, anti-social behaviour, violent crime and a busy night-time economy. Police have increased patrols in the area at key times as part of Operation Focus which has been running for the last two months and targeting areas suffering from a rise in crime.
Teams of extra officers continue to work during the busy weekends throughout December to ensure people can enjoy a safe night out in Walsall. The neighbourhood team has forged great relationships with licensed premises and is working on plans to use a knife arch at venues. And, in a bid to deter pickpocketing, purse bells have been supplied to Heaven Sent Cards and Gifts at the Crossings in St Paul's Church to give out to elderly and vulnerable people.
Concerns raised about rough sleeping and aggressive begging are also being addressed with officers working closely with partners and the night shelter facility to offer support to those that need it. However, where support is being refused and individuals are making the town unsafe, then officers are utilising Community Protection Warnings and Community Protection Notices to put various conditions in place. A breach of an order is a criminal offence and only last week a woman - who had been causing major issues for residents - was charged.
Inspector Tony Eustace, responsible for policing in Walsall, said: “It is hoped that this positive action will demonstrate our desire to understand the needs of those who are rough sleeping and work with them to get the support they need by offering a hand of friendship. The aim is never to criminalise vulnerable people who need our help, however this has to be balanced with responding to the needs of the public and local businesses.
“The town is a busy and vibrant place and we’re really proud to have such great links with so many people. Our engagement is crucial in delivering a feeling of safety in the town and encourages people to provide information and feedback that will continue to help us improve the way we police the area."
Anyone who is interested in finding out more about what is happening in their area can sign up to WMNOW, details can be found here: www.wmnow.co.uk or by emailing the team firstname.lastname@example.org or follow them on Twitter @StMatthewsWMP.