Fears over unofficial ‘vigilante’ patrols by residents in Solihull
Solihull residents are carrying out unofficial patrols in their neighbourhood amid rising concerns about crime, a meeting has heard.
Cllr Mark Wilson (Green, Smith’s Wood) said that some members of the public were “losing confidence” in the police presence and he was aware of independent groups walking the streets themselves.
Raising the issue with Solihull Police this week, he said his concern was that “anything could happen”.
“I think that is an issue … They could be the victims of assault or they could perpetrate an assault.
“[There are more serious crimes] Corsa cannibals and that sort of thing going on. Especially in the north.
“What can be done to work with interested residents?”
In response, Chief Insp Colin Barnes, from the borough’s police team, had urged those who wanted to do something “proactive”, to sign-up to the force’s official Street Watch programme – which gives volunteers formal training and provides insurance.
“The non-affiliated Street Watch if you want to put it that way … I’m very keen to work with those people.
“Because if they felt the need to go out and do something like that, then they’re clearly passionate enough about it, care enough about it, and that’s what we want to try and tap into.”
In terms of the official scheme, which recently set up a new group in Chelmsley Wood, he said that there had been no instances of people being in danger.
This scheme has been running for some considerable time. There haven’t been any incidents or concerns about any kind of threat to individuals.
“Clearly there is a level of common sense that comes into this, but I just want to make that clear that there have been no reports.”
Solihull has been seen as a particular success story for the Street Watch programme, with other branches established in areas such as Shirley and Elmdon. There are now scores of volunteers in the borough.
As part of the initiative, groups operate as “eyes and ears” in their areas, but are told to call police if they encounter a crime in progress.
Read more: https://www.birminghammail.co.uk/news/local-news/fears-over-unofficial-vigilante-patrols-15395293