Friday, 28 October 2011

As clocks go back, do your bit to protect against burglars

It is that time of year, when darker nights are fast approaching and West Midlands Police are encouraging residents to think about home security.

The clocks will be going back by an hour on Saturday night (29 October), and officers are asking residents to act now to help secure their home.

Simple tips include:
  • Using a timer switch for lights. These are inexpensive and mean homes are not left in darkness to alert burglars to an empty property.
  • Using door and window locks, even when someone is at home.
  • Cancelling newspapers and milk if the property is left unoccupied for a few days.
  • Keeping your shed and garage locked - your tools could be used to break into your home.
  • Neighbourhood Watch is an effective way to keep your home and community safer. You can find details of how to join or set up a scheme from the partnerships officer at your local station.
Sergeant Andy Gregory said: "Many people will now be returning home from work in the dark and often forget to leave a light on, making it obvious to a potential burglar that the property is probably unoccupied. Homeowners should consider investing in time switches, windows should always closed and locked and, where available, house alarms set.

"Traditionally the number of burglary offences rises in the winter and we want residents to think about how they can help themselves by taking a few simple measures."

For further advice about keeping your property secure, see the force's website:

The burglary initiative comes at a time when West Midlands Police is showing a large reduction in house burglary. Over the last six months there have been 2,300 fewer victims of house break-ins (down 24 per cent) compared to the same period last year.

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Frosty Morning Car thefts

With the winter fast approaching and the inevitable drop in temperature, Police are issuing a warning to all car owners who start their car on a frosty morning and then go back indoors, even for a moment - Please Don't!

You leave yourselves open to the vehicle being stolen, opportunist thieves wander round looking for cars to steal. The easiest option for them is to steal a car with the keys and they know that in frosty weather, there will always be a car engine running somewhere while the car defrosts and the driver is inside the house. 

This not only causes you inconvenience but information from the AA states 'Most car insurance policies will not cover theft of your car if it has been left unlocked with the keys in the ignition.'

Leaving your car engine running while you go back indoors for any reason is a huge risk but incredibly last year a surprising number of people did it in Solihull and a number of cars were stolen as a result. There were 129 cars were stolen this way in the West Midlands with over 10 cars being stolen in Solihull whilst defrosting during last Winter.

In addition if you leave your car running on a road without proper supervision you actually commit an offence for which you could be fined or issued with a fixed penalty notice.

Our advice is that wherever possible, you store your car in a garage. If you do not have a garage, cover the windscreen with a purpose made cover, newspaper or cardboard to keep the frost off. Use a scraper or de-icer, or pour hot (not boiling) water on the windscreen.

Local Police officers will be conducting additional patrols in residential areas during cold weather, help us to frustrate would be car thieves and don't leave your car running.

Monday, 17 October 2011

Beware of Postal Scam

Please be aware of the following Postal Scam;

A card is posted through your door from a company called PDS (Parcel Delivery Service) suggesting they were unable to deliver a parcel and that you need to contact them on 0906 6611911 (a premium rate number)

DO NOT call this number, as this is a mail scam originating from Belize .

If you call the number and you start to hear a recorded message you will already have been billed £315 for the phone call.

If you do receive a card with these details, then please contact Royal Mail Fraud on 020 7239 6655.

For more information, see the Crime Stoppers website:     
Crimestoppers - 0800 555 111

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Meriden police granted more powers to tackle ASB


POLICE have been granted additional powers to tackle problem youths at a known anti-social behaviour spot in Meriden.

Residents in and around Alspath Road have reported teens gathering to drink alcohol, intimidating passers-by, littering and playing loud music from vehicles.

Solihull Police has responded by successfully applying for a dispersal order which allows them to move on any groups (of two or more people) suspected of causing a nuisance and arrest anyone breaching the order’s terms.

It also allows officers to escort home any under-16s found in the restricted zone between the hours of 9pm and 6am.

Meriden Neighbourhood Police Team Sergeant Tony Hanlon, said: “We’re committed to tackling anti-social behaviour in Meriden and are working with the local community to gather evidence against those responsible.

Sergeant Tony Hanlon posting the ASB Dispersal Order
near the community centre in Meriden.

“By working closely with residents and businesses we’ve managed to successfully apply for a dispersal order that gives us the power to disperse groups responsible for anti-social behaviour.”

The dispersal order – which runs until at least November 12 – covers all areas falling within the B4104 Main Rd, Leys Lane and B4102 Fillongley Road 'triangle'.

And it comes shortly after Solihull Police secured a two-year Criminal Anti-Social Behaviour Order (CRASBO) against a known troublemaker in the area.

Michael Neary, of Fillongley Rd, Meriden, was handed the CRASBO by Magistrates last month

Photo of Michael Neary who is subject of the ban

It bans the 18-year-old from entering Alspath Road (from number 30 to Arden Close), the local Co-Op store, community centre, The Croft and the passageway which leads to Highfield.

In addition, the Meriden Neighbourhood Policing Team continues to work closely with Solihull Council and Solihull Community Housing to help improve the area and provide activities for local children and teenagers.

For a week in August (22nd-26th) officers alongside the council’s Neighbourhood Sports Team laid on free sports sessions, including basketball, football and cricket, for eight- to 14-year-olds in Balsall Common’s Willow Park.

Residents are urged to report anti-social behaviour and if they see Michael Neary within his CRASBO restricted zone to contact Solihull Police on 0345 113 5000.

Thursday, 1 September 2011

Chelmsley Wood Shopping Centre Fun Day

On the 19th August 2011 a fun day took place in Chelmsley Wood shopping centre to raise money for the Shopping Centre Association.

The Fun Day was arranged by members of the Town Centre Tenants Association, which was set up by Sergeant Mark Cowl from the Chelmsley Wood Neighbourhood Police together with Barry Jones the Centre Manager to build on the excellent working relationship between retailers and their local police teams.

The Association exists to improve the environment and shopping experience for retailers, staff and vistors to Chelmsley Wood Town Centre

A number of retailers donated raffles prizes, the proceeds of which will help to fund the purchase of additional radios for the Retail Link scheme to enable retailers, Security Staff and Police communicate more easily.

Throughout the day there was a Disco in the centre of the Shopping Malls with DJ Paul “ The Prisoner “ Chambers, who is one of the town centre cleaning staff. The disco attracted many members of the public to dance with “ Woody the Owl “ the town centre mascot who’s time was donated by Albermarle and Bond pawn brokers.

The Incredible Hulk also made an appearances on the day played by centre cleaner Martin Thompson in between his regular duties of keeping the centre clean.

Other attractions in the centre included a Bouncy Castle and some 'Stocks' where willing victims had wet sponges thrown at them for a price. Some of the more popular victims included Sergeant Mark Cowl;  the centre manager Barrie Jones and PC Dave Jephcott. 

Sgt Cowl said “it is fantastic to see Chelmsley Wood residents turn out in force to support an event to improve their local shopping centre”

The day raised over £300 toward the cost of the Retail Link radios, which will provide a better and safer environment for shoppers and staff

If you want to get in touch with your local Police team visit Solihull Police or phone 0345 113 5000

Thursday, 11 August 2011

Disorder in Birmingham and Solihull Part 2

I thought it would be helpful to update people where we are at in Solihull. As I write now 10.30am on Thursday 11th August 2011, we have not had any disorder or crimes related to the issues happening in Birmingham and other parts of the country for over 48 hours. In fact the minor disorder we experienced was nothing like other areas have seen and was quickly dealt with by our local police officers. That said there has been plenty of rumour and speculation circulating through all kinds of media; usually third or fourth hand that something is likely to or has actually happened. None has proven to be true.

This does not mean we are complacent, I am meeting with colleagues and partners on a daily basis to reflect on what has happened in the last 24 hours and whether our plans are right for the next 24. My focus over the last few days has been around reassurance for people who live and work in the Meriden Constituency area in Solihull.

I have placed my staff in areas that see the most pedestrian traffic - shopping locations such as Chelmsley Wood town centre, Chester Road, Marston Green, Kingshurst and Smiths Wood and we are also paying particular attention to transport hubs.

This is not because we believe there is any danger but that these are the places we can interact with significant numbers of people. I also authorised some additional police powers for my staff, enabling them to search anyone they believed was likely to be involved in disorder or criminality. Everyone stopped under those powers will receive a visit from the Police so they understand the behaviour we expect in Solihull.

I have asked my staff today to go about their normal business this morning but later this afternoon we will be holding a number of street briefings so that we can take questions from you and pass out the latest information we have.

Solihull Borough remains a safe place to visit, work or live in, the problems experienced elsewhere have not appeared here and the actions we have taken through highly visible and robust policing has sent a message to any potential trouble makers - 'You're not welcome here!'

Finally as an appeal, can I ask that you go about your normal business as you ordinarily would. Please do not listen to gossip or rumour especially on social media such as twitter or Facebook - for the facts visit our website Solihull Police or follow reliable sources on twitter such as me at InspWestMidsPol or colleagues on DIWestMidsPol or SolihullCouncil.

If you have any information on the recent disorders, you should call West Midlands Police on 0800 096 0095, or 0207 158 0125 and quote Operation View. In an emergency always call 999.

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Recent Disorder in Birmingham/Solihull

Following last night’s disorder in Birmingham, and to a lesser extent in Solihull, West Midlands Police are actively working with our communities and partners to ensure the safety of our communities.

We appreciate these scenes and incidents will cause concern but we can reassure you that we are monitoring all activity and have comprehensive policing plans in place for Solihull.

We have additional police patrols on the street, and trained public order teams on standby, in order to protect members of the public, homes and retail premises.

We are confident we can provide an effective and proportionate policing response to any given situation and remain fully committed to supporting and protecting our communities.

West Midlands Police will not tolerate violent behaviour and will arrest any people who commit acts of violence or criminality. Offenders can expect to be put before the courts and punished appropriately.

Should there be any incidents of disorder I would ask members of the public to stay calm, remain at home, and give police officers the space they need to monitor and contain any issues that arise.

We would appreciate your help in this respect and encourage you to spread the message amongst your community.

We remain concerned that young people are being drawn into unlawful activity and encourage families and communities to ensure their young people are safely at home during this period.

Anybody with information relating to the disorder is urged to call West Midlands Police on 0345 113 5000 and quote Operation View.