New proposals to bring services direct to local community in Walsall
West Midlands Police is
looking at proposals to work with Walsall Council which could
potentially herald a wholesale change to the way it delivers
services in the area.
Last week the Police and Crime Commissioner Bob Jones alongside
representatives from the force met with the council to discuss the
proposals that could see the force signing a lease agreement with
the council. Under the proposed agreement, Walsall LPU will move
its partnerships team and a number of neighbourhood teams to the
The new proposed partnership approach between the force and the
council will mean that services traditionally only available from
police stations will be available at the Civic Centre. The
model is based on the Bluebell centre in Solihull, where joint
police and council services have been running successfully for
approaching 12 months. If a lease agreement is completed,
Walsall police partnerships team could co-locate with the council's
partnership team, allowing for a more integrated, joined-up
approach to community issues. The neighbourhood teams for St
Matthews, Paddock and Palfrey and Pleck could also move to the
Civic Centre bringing them into the heart of Walsall under any
proposed arrangement. The proposed changes could see the
creation of a multi-agency 'one-stop' shop based in the heart of
the community to engage with local people.
If the plans are agreed and a lease completed the force will
move out of Green Lane police station, with the remainder of the
neighbourhood teams and functions including 24/7 response moving
within the Walsall borough area to Bloxwich police station.
Under the proposed changes Bloxwich police station will become the
local police HQ.
The Green Lane site has been under review for some time as it
costs the force half a million pounds a year in maintenance costs,
diverting resources away from operational policing, exacerbated due
to problems with the building itself.
Current estimates are that it will take approximately 18 months
to move out of Green Lane but moving into the Civic Centre could
potentially be as early as September 2013 for partnerships and the
The 24/7 public access facility at Walsall will remain while the
station is operational. Any re-provisioning of the service
will follow a public consultation combined with a full service
review - including how people access front counters. The
overall aim will be to create an efficient, modern, accessible
service. Once vacated, the Green Lane site will be disposed
"This is an innovative and ground-breaking approach which we
believe, if an agreement is signed, will be the start of a whole
new approach to providing policing services to the people of
Walsall," said Chief Superintendent Dave Sturman, Walsall local
policing unit commander.
"The proposed changes provide an opportunity for us to work
closely with our council colleagues to support our customers around
a range of issues such as domestic abuse, housing problems and
Police and Crime Commissioner Bob Jones said "As a matter of
course we continually review our estate to ensure buildings are fit
for purpose, cost efficient and provide the best possible service
to the wider community.
"We are exploring ways to make policing more accessible in the
context of the fact that many police stations are now significantly
underused and expensive to run. Research has shown that some
of our buildings are not welcoming and in the wrong location for
the public. We are committed to meeting people in settings that are
relevant to them, in the heart of the community.
"If these proposals go ahead it will see policing move into the
heart of Walsall and will make it easier for people to access local
services. The proposals really do embody the spirit of joint
partnership working and will allow police and the council to work
even more closely together which can only be of huge benefit to the
people of Walsall."
Chief Constable Chris Sims said: "We are working hard to make
policing more accessible and the proposed initiative in Walsall
will help us to achieve that goal.
"As part of our commitment to modernise the force, coupled with
the financial pressures we are likely to face over the forthcoming
years, we have to be innovative and creative in the way we provide
our services. Arrangements like the one proposed in Walsall,
where police and the council work closer together, offer a better
service to local people - creating one stop shops in which a wide
range of issues can be dealt with are proving very popular in the