Delight as police station secured

By Chris Willmott 20/12 Updated: 03/01 11:38

Buy photos » Cedric Lea, Neighbourhood Watch Co-ordinator, Chief Superintendent Sally Bourner, Street Watch co-ordinator James Loves, Street Watch volunteer Spencer Carter, Coun Judy Lea, chair of Balsall Parish Council and Sgt Tony Hanlon from Bickenhill and Meriden beat. Picture by Jon Mullis 50.011.036.sol.jm1 (www.buyphotos247.com)

THE FUTURE of Balsall Common's community police station has been secured for at least another three years - to the delight of villagers.

There had been question marks over the station's future which has been reviewed as part of an on-going savings review by West Midlands Police as it strives to save £126 million over the next four years.

But the signing of the new three-year lease on the Station Road base has illustrated the force's committment to neighbourhood policing in the area.

The centre acts as a base for the Balsall Common neighbourhood police team while the volunteer-staffed office, open Monday to Saturday 11am till 12.30pm, acts as a drop-in centre for residents wanting to report local issues or seek advice.

The lease extension means the community facility, which opened in 2008, will continue until at least 2015.

Solihull Police are also investigating the possibility of co-locating the Parish Council within the base in order to maximise the space and ensure cost effectiveness.

The volunteer Street Watch initiative is also based there.

Solihull Police Commander, Chief Supt Sally Bourner, said the force was delighted to be able to announce the lease extension which decision demonstrates its commitment to serving and protecting the public in their neighbourhoods.

"It is a hugely valuable facility, one that allows police officers to really get to know local people and understand any issues or concerns," she added.

"It''s also a great example of partnership working and members of the public playing an active role in neighbourhood policing.

"The fact that the office is staffed by volunteers, who want to play their part in neighbourhood policing, is testimony to how much people value having this police base on their doorstep."

Meriden MP Caroline Spelman also welcomed the news saying that keeping a police presence in the community is one of the best ways of preventing crime and offers reassurance to all those who live, work or go to school in Balsall Common.

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