The first Public Community Safety Meeting organised by Soho Road East Neighbourhood Watch was conducted on Monday, February 28, 2022, at King Edward VI Rose Hill School, Handsworth, Birmingham.
The event was attended by more than 250 members of the public representing the local community, various organisations, and representatives from surrounding communities across the Handsworth and Lozells area. The diverse and representative audience made up of stakeholders included residents, business owners, faith groups, volunteer action groups and community representatives, who provided valuable feedback and information on local concerns and issues.
Speaking on behalf of Soho Road East Neighbourhood Watch, Chair, Parmjit Singh said:
“We are grateful to everyone who made the effort to attend this first public meeting. The turnout was evidence enough that there are enough people in our communities that care about everyone’s welfare and the area. As a team of volunteers, we are fortunate and extremely grateful that the community has come together and empowered us to help take things forward to address the concerns that have blighted our communities for too long.
We have already made some investment in building strong local partnerships with the likes of the Soho Road Neighbourhood policing team from West Midlands Police and progress has been made along the right path. However, we need to do better and ensure that this kind of working partnership continues and have other teams and organisations helping to support the communities around us. Whilst we are grateful for the attendance of Councillor Chaman Lal and Councillor Sybil Spence, along with the other attendees, we were disappointed that despite the volunteers best efforts, other elected officials for the area, could not to attend to listen to the concerns of their constituents.
In particular, it was highlighted by attendees, that for too many years, our communities across the greater Handsworth and Lozells area have consistently been neglected and forgotten about, despite asking for help from those who represent our people in the area and other public sector organisations, all of whom are able to do something about the issue’s that the communities must deal with.
A wide-ranging number of issues were raised by the public, both verbally and on our comment cards, bringing attention to the key priorities that need to be addressed, including sex workers, housing, safeguarding for children and women, drug dealing, violent crime, anti-social behaviour and fly-tipping.
There were additional concerns over the absence of core health care facilities available to the communities, such as general practitioners, dental, social and mental health care services. When combined, all of these factors multiply the issues at an exponential rate.
Since the meeting, several partners and stakeholders have confirmed their commitments to working together with us on issues, to achieve the results that the communities wish to see. For example, constituency police Inspector Nicholas Hill, has reiterated his and his team’s commitment to listen to and address the wide-ranging issues regarding women’s safety, exempt accommodation and drug dealing.
As Soho Road East Neighbourhood Watch and other active volunteer community groups, we are dedicated to working with partners and stakeholders, ensuring that there is accountability and that there is relevant action being taken in the short-term, to help immediately address these issues. However, we are also working towards identifying longer term solutions to overall, eradicate the issues causing harm to our communities.
Currently, we are processing the significant amount of information that was collated during the meeting. There is already an action plan in development, which is evolving further with issues already being tackled. Now is the time where we, as a community, take responsibility and ensure that we see the changes that we desire, being made.
We would like to thank all those that have supported us so far; however, we will continue to need everyone’s support to get us all to where we wish to be. Finally, I would like to add that if there is someone out there who can help serve the community or help address some of these issues, please come and talk to us.”
Minutes of the meeting shall be publicly made available with copies being sent onto all partners and stakeholders to accompany this press release. The next public community safety meeting will be held in July 2022, with dates to be confirmed.
If you are a local Neighbourhood Watch or Street Watch coordinator, community or faith group leader, IAG member, or represent a community or organisation that should be involved in this initiative, or for enquiries, please contact us via e-mail on email@example.com.