Taiwo Owatemi writes for the Observer.
ONE OF the issues raised with me most frequently from across Coventry North West is crime and anti-social behaviour.
Whenever these issues are raised, I immediately get in touch with the local police to raise your concerns. And I always invite police officers to attend my regular coffee afternoons with constituents, so crime hotspots can be identified and problems reported quickly.
Over the last few months anti-social behaviour in Radford has been particularly bad, with lots of constituents writing to me about the difficult situation. Frustratingly, arson, car vandalism and bike gangs have all made Radford feel less safe.
If a crime has already taken place, I would urge you to report it straight away by calling 101 or by using the ‘live chat’ option on the West Midlands Police website. And of course, in an emergency, always call 999.
It may feel like a nuisance, but by reporting a crime in your area the police will have a clearer picture of the scale of the problem.
Over the summer I will hold a public meeting with residents in Radford and with the police to discuss these issues and how we can work together to improve community safety. That way, residents can highlight the problems locally and the police can report back on what further work they will undertake to tackle these problems head on.
Everyone deserves to live in a safe and welcoming neighbourhood and I want to do everything I can to make sure this is the case.
Of course, this is a national issue as well as local.
We all know Coventry’s policing numbers have been on the decline year-on-year due to cuts imposed by national government. And it will now take time to restore policing numbers to ensure a more visible presence in our communities.
In Parliament, I will continue to call for investment – and not further cuts – in neighbourhood policing. The police are a vital local service we all depend upon, so more cuts can never be the right answer.
I know the police are working tirelessly to support our city and their efforts throughout the pandemic have been truly heroic. I will always work with them to ensure Coventry is a safe, inclusive and welcoming city.