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Traffic congestion and police budget cuts on agenda at business summit

Traffic congestion and police budget cuts on agenda at business summit

🕔05.Jan 2015

A meet the police commissioner summit for businesses planned by West Midlands PCC David Jamieson could hardly have come at a better time for frustrated commuters – one of the subjects to be discussed is how to keep motorway and city centre traffic freely flowing.

The event, which will allow firms and business organisations to raise issues of concern, coincides with the start of extensive repair works to the M6 as well as major demolition work and road diversions around Paradise Circus in Birmingham city centre.

Forecasts of chaos at peak times did not materialise as Birmingham returned to work after the Christmas and New Year break with traffic flowing freely.

But police and council chiefs have warned drivers to allow more time for their journeys and to expect delays during busy periods.

A six-month programme of works will see access to the M6 Spaghetti Junction from the Salford Circus roundabout blocked until May. Slip road closures, lane closures and diversions are in place at junctions 5, 6 and 7 of the M6.

In Birmingham city centre, demolition work at Paradise Circus is likely to cause congestion.

There will be diversions and lane closures, some temporary and some overnight, around Broad Street, Sand Pits and Summer Row. Buses will also be diverted and passengers are advised to use stops at Colmore Row instead of those near the Town Hall.

The police commissioner’s business summit will be staged at Maple House, 150 Corporation Street, on January 15 from 6-9pm and includes a buffet supper.

The evening will include:

  • Opening address by David Jamieson.
  • Financial forecast and budget for 2015/16 for West Midlands Police.
  • Presentations on policing, transportation and road safety –keeping regional motorways and city centres flowing freely and safely for businesses and their employees, vital to the regional economy.
  • Performance update on business crime by West Midlands Police.
  • Information on a proposed national model for business crime partnerships.

There will be an opportunity for business representatives to quiz the Commissioner about the impact of Government funding cuts on West Midlands Police.

Shortly before Christmas, Mr Jamieson confirmed that further budget cuts of £120 million would be necessary on top of £100 million already cut since 2010.

He is consulting on a proposal to increase the police share of West Midlands council tax by 1.99 per cent – the largest permissible increase without holding a referendum for approval. The proposed increase is equivalent to about four pence a week for a Band D property.

Urging businesses to join him in lobbying the Government for a fairer financial deal, Mr Jamieson said: “Despite continued austerity, West Midlands Police has kept crime down, responded to massive operational challenges such as the NATO summit, Conservative conferences and EDL rallies, and still adapted to new priorities.

“We have also been assessed by HM Inspectorate of Constabulary as having made an excellent response to the funding challenge, which will continue.  With resources diminishing however, it is certain that, after the current recruitment, officer numbers will continue to fall.

“The capacity and capability of policing is under threat.  For that reason, I am calling on business and community leaders to join me in calling for the fairer deal for funding in the West Midlands.  We need to be given the amount the formula says that we should receive so that policing is able to continue protecting the right of people in the West Midlands to live life freely and safely.”

Attendance at the summit is limited to 100 and places can be booked here.

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