26th Jun, 2022

Councillors call for police crackdown on drugs in Hillfields, Coventry, after stabbing and shooting

POLICE need to do more to crack down on drug dealers in Hillfields in inner city Coventry, councillors are warning.

They say the force needs to “take decisive and strong action to crack down on drug dealing and the associated menace this activity brings to Hillfields”.

They are also calling on the government to reverse cuts and provide more funding for police on the beat.

It comes after a week in which incidents have included a stabbing and a shooting on local streets.

The three Coventry city councillors for the St Michael’s ward, which includes Hillfields, say the crimes are being linked to “drug activity in the area and beyond”.

Councillors Jim O’Boyle, Naeem Akhtar and David Welsh of St Michael’s Ward Labour Party have issued a joint statement.

Coun Jim O’Boyle, who is also the council’s cabinet member for jobs and regeneration, said: “We meet every month with our local Inspector to share information and hear what the police are doing to reduce crime and target the criminals in our area.

“It is obvious that drug activity has increased recently bringing danger and fear to the city.

“We call on West Midlands Police to prioritise our area to help locals go about their business free from crime and fear.”

Coun Naeem Akhtar said: “I have had calls from residents and businesses worried about the impact this dangerous activity is having in the

area. Residents are scared and business has been threatened with reprisals if they report illegal activity. They’ve had enough and want to see the police really crack down on these drug dealers and their hangers on.”

Coun David Welsh added: “The police have had massive cuts to deal with in recent years meaning there are now 2000 less officers in the West Midlands.

“We need the government to act by giving the Chief Constable and Commissioner the money they need to get more police officers where it is needed.

“It is clear criminals know the Police are stretched and take advantage of it, leaving residents vulnerable.”

They ended by saying jointly: “We have also written to the Home Secretary (Sajid Javid) calling on him to fund our police properly.

“It is a government’s first duty to protect its citizens. The Tory government are failing in that duty. If they cannot do the job they are there to do, resign, call a general election and let Labour take over.

“We pledge 10,000 new officers on the street if we win the election.”

Tory ministers since 2010 have claimed cuts were necessary to eliminate the national deficit. They have also insisted police funding cuts could be absorbed in back office savings and by switching resources in response to the changing nature of 21st century crime.

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