BRINGING back the community ‘police shop’ in Balsall Common would help shine a light on crime happening in the area.
That is the message from campaigners who have spoken about their fight to get it re-opened.
Cedric Lee was one of the pioneering volunteers at the Police Shop from when it opened around ten years ago to when it finally closed its doors in December.
He and a team got together with West Midlands Police to set up the Station Road shop in a bid to create a police presence in the village.
The shop, which is now Tuscany Pizza, was open six days a week and was run by volunteers who would log incidents and concern.
These were then passed on to a team of police officers who would use the shop as a local office periodically during the week.
Cedric said: “People would pop into the shop to tell us about anti-social behaviour and possible deserted or abandoned vehicles.
“We were told quite a lot of crime and anti-social behaviour was prevented because of reports made and passed on.”
Over the years 30 volunteers signed up to help out.
When the shop on Station Road closed its doors in December 2016, Cedric and his team tried to run a similar operation in the library. However, it did not really get off the ground and it finally closed its doors in December 2017.
Cedric added: “I feel the Community Police Shop is worth something and in the ideal situation we would have somewhere that was obvious within Balsall Common with signage to let people know where it was and displayed when we were operating.”
Councillor Tony Dicicco (Meriden) has been part of a team including residents, fellow councillors and Meriden MP Dame Caroline Spelman calling on West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner Davis Jamieson to urgently re-open the shop.
Coun Dicicco said: “I was disappointed with the decision to close the police shop in Balsall Common in 2016. That’s why I’m joining with Dame Caroline Spelman MP to campaign for it to be re-opened.
“I believe that re-opening the police shop will give local people confidence that their concerns and fears about crime are being addressed.
“There have been a number of recent incidents where criminals have gained or attempted to gain access to properties in and around Balsall Common for burglary and/or vehicle theft.
“These are frightening crimes and residents want to be reassured that the police will make the necessary resources available to prevent them.”
<b>Diane Howell, Coun Tony Dicicco and former police shop volunteer Cedric Lee outside the village library, the preferred location for the new police shop. 08.018.016.sol.jm2.</b>