Closing Sutton Coldfield police station ‘is wrong’, says town council leader

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Sutton Coldfield will eventually be one of 30 “expensive and under-used sites” that will be disposed of by the West Midlands force by 2025

“It is simply not on,” is the cry from a town council leader following an announcement that a police station will be sold off.

The Police and Crime Commissioner for the West Midlands, Simon Foster, confirmed Sutton Coldfield’s police station will close in 2025 due to “significant cost pressures”.

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Sutton Coldfield will eventually be one of 30 “expensive and under-used sites” that will be disposed of by the force by 2025. Others include Acocks Green, Digbeth and Kings Heath.

However, it’s the future closure of Sutton Coldfield’s cop shop that has caused uproar and anger amongst local politicians. Simon Ward, leader of the Royal Sutton Coldfield Town Council, said: “The town council is extremely disappointed to read this announcement from the Police and Crime Commissioner. Simon Foster has consistently failed to reassure residents that his plans for closure of Sutton Coldfield police station will do anything other than reduce their safety. The town council has asked for urgent clarification on what the plans for policing in Sutton Coldfield actually are. Yet again, residents are being left uncertain and in the dark – it is simply not on.”

Birmingham city councillor and former police officer Izzy Knowles (Lib Dems, Moseley) commented: “Having local officers in the neighbourhood makes people feel safe and reassured. It’s a bad idea to close Sutton Coldfield.

“The police service needs to get back to local accountability. Neighbourhood teams need to know what’s going on, and investigation teams need a local connection, otherwise they are less likely to take ownership of cases.”

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Leader of the Lib Dems in Birmingham, Coun Roger Harmer (Acocks Green) added: “Looking at the city, it’s a bleak picture. The loss of police stations is bound to impact local communities. Sutton Coldfield looks exposed.”

While Sutton Wylde Green councillor Alex Yip said: “The commissioner’s plans for Sutton Coldfield’s police station have shifted from ‘dispose’ to ‘relocate locally and then dispose’. This marks a small step forward towards more clarity on the PCC’s plans for all those campaigning to keep our Royal Town’s police station open.

“While the devil will absolutely be in the detail behind this cost saving exercise we will continue to keep the pressure on so we have a proper functioning response station, not just a window in a library.”

Sutton Coldfield Police Station Sutton Coldfield Police Station
Sutton Coldfield Police Station | google

The chair of West Midlands Police Federation, however, fears losing iconic police stations in big towns across the region, such as Sutton Coldfield, has the potential to undermine the local policing model.

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Richard Cooke fumed: “We believe that large towns like Sutton Coldfield and Willenhall, in the Black Country, losing their police stations – which are, at the end of the day, historic symbols of authority – is not what the public in those areas wants and needs.”

There will, however, still be ten police stations across the West Midlands for members of the public to attend, speak with a police officer and report crime. But PCC Mr Foster warned “significant cost pressures” meant the force had to make cuts of £28 million in 2023/24 and £21 million in 2024/25.

See the full list of stations, here.

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