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Dudley is safest borough in West Midlands - police chief

By Dayna Farrington | Dudley | Crime | Published:

Dudley is the safest area in the West Midlands region, the borough’s police chief has said.

Chief Superintendent Sally Bourner

But Chief Superintendent for Dudley Sally Bourner said it did not mean officers would be taking their foot off the gas in tackling violent crimes including knife attacks and car jackings.

Chief Supt Bourner said statistically Dudley is the safest borough in the West Midlands – per 1,000 head of the population.

She said the force rely heavily on residents in the borough to be their “eyes and ears” – and urged those who knew details about crimes, as insignificant as they may think the information is, to come forward and tell them – not post it on social media.

Chief Supt Bourner took over responsibility for the Dudley borough last summer and has made it a priority of being out on the streets, engaging with residents.

Violent crime the priority

Speaking to the Express & Star, while out in Stourbridge town centre last week, she said the force’s top priority remains “tackling violent crime” whether that be knife crime or car jackings.

And she insisted the community was one of the best weapons in fighting crime and could be the eyes and ears of police, particularly on social media where she said key clues could often be found.

It came as the police chief said someone in the community knows who was responsible for one of the worst car jacking attempts in recent months – on an elderly couple in the Pedmore area.

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A 71-year-old pensioner was fixing bikes to the roof of her VW Golf alongside her husband when two masked men – one brandishing a zombie knife – on a scooter pulled up on their drive in Stevens Road. But they fled empty-handed after neighbours were alerted.

Chief Supt Bourner said: “We have numerous successes in recent months in arresting people related to violent crime.

"A significant incident we are still continuing to appeal to people for information is the incident in Pedmore where offenders on a motorbike approached a couple in their 70s. Someone out there knows who they are.

“That investigation remains on-going and we know people are out there who know who they are and can help us bring them to justice.

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“Car jackings, knife crime are very small in number in Dudley – it is the safest borough in the region. Stourbridge is one of the safest areas. But those small number of incidents have a significant impact.

'Public are our eyes and ears'

"Our approach is working with the public, who are our eyes and ears to arrest those people responsible and bring them to justice. I want to assure residents we are working and we are focused on bring them to justice.

“I recognise incidents do occur and they have a significant impact and there is a ripple affect on people where it doesn’t feel like the safest to people.

“To tackle those serious offences we need the public’s help. Now residents chat on social media. We as police don’t monitor that stuff. If people have information don’t assume we know – we need people to tell us. That piece of information could be the final piece of the jigsaw we need to bring someone to justice for that crime. We need the public.

“You might not think it is significant but it could be the final piece.”

Car key burglaries

Chief Supt Bourner added that another key issue in the borough is car key burglaries.

She said: “This is something that is not unique to Dudley. It happens across the force and the majority of people who are involved operate across the region, not just locally.

“There are measures that West Midlands Police is taking to target and arrest those responsible. We started Operation Cantil last year. We have arrested nearly 1,700 people for car key burglary offences – around 250 were arrested in the last month or so.

“Policing has become smaller over the last few years and across the public sector. But we invest in neighbourhood policing but we can’t be on every street.

“West Midlands Police over the next two years will recruit an extra 200 police officers for the region.

“The most powerful in the local community is local people. We are working hard with community groups, setting up street watch and neighbourhood watch groups.”

Dayna Farrington

By Dayna Farrington
Senior reporter based at Wolverhampton

Reporter for the Express & Star based at Wolverhampton.

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