WEST MIDLANDS Police is asking people to use the 999 service responsibly during the current heightened security state and only dial it for real emergencies.
Last night the national security state was raised to critical, this means that not only does an attack remain highly likely but a further attack may be imminent.
As a result emergency resources will be stretched and members of the public are reminded to only dial 999 if there is a threat to life or a genuine crime in progress and police attendance is immediately required.
Examples of genuine emergencies include where there is a threat to life, where there is on-going violence or if offenders are still at or near to the scene or if there has been an injury road traffic collision.
Any suspicious activity should still immediately be reported to 999 or the via the National Anti-Terrorist Hotline on 0800 789 321.
Non-emergency calls and enquiries should be directed to the 101 non-emergency number. This should be used to report a crime or anti-social behaviour which does not need an emergency response. For example, it could be used to report a crime that has already happened, seek crime prevention advice or make police aware of local policing issues.
Every year West Midlands Police receives more than two million telephone calls, including nearly 700,000 emergency calls, many of which are not genuine emergencies.
Chief Superintendent Sally Bourner, Head of Force contact said: “We are asking the public to just think before calling the police at this critical time. At the moment our officers and staff are juggling a huge number of demands and we ask people to be patient and bear with us. Of course any suspicious behaviour or emergency should still be reported on 999 but we have limited resources and still get time wasting calls.
“Recent examples of misusing the 999 system include calls about a shop not offering a refund, a picnic taking place in a park and spilled paint.
“We are averaging between 4-5,000 calls a day in total and we need to assess each and every one so please think before dialling.”
YOUNG people are being given the chance to improve health and social care services in Tamworth.
Young People’s Healthwatch is a new initiative that will gather the views and experiences of under-25s and ensure they have a voice on issues that affect them.
It has been developed by watchdog Healthwatch Staffordshire in partnership with fellow community interest company Sporting Communities.
And they’re keen to ensure work of the programme, launched ahead of National Volunteers Week (June 1-7), is led by young people themselves.
Jan Sensier, chief executive of Engaging Communities Staffordshire, which delivers Healthwatch, said: “Children and young people face a range of disadvantages and inequalities just like the rest of society and their problems are often significant and complex.
“Health and social care needs to work effectively for them and, if there’s anything that needs to be improved, we need to know about it.
“Young People’s Healthwatch will provide a platform to find out what young people think about services in their area and, by listening to their views, we can better understand the issues and barriers they face.
“The feedback will be used to make services more suitable and accessible for young people as well as reducing the resources spent on those that are not meeting their needs.
“It will also reveal patterns and trends which can identify areas that need to be addressed.”
The initiative will deliver a raft of practical benefits too, according to Ms Sensier.
She added: “It will act as a central hub delivering vital information, support and advice to help young people in their day-to-day lives.
“We know from past experience that under-25s experience issues specific to their age group and that it’s sometimes difficult for them to find out what to do or where to go.
“Now they’ll have direct access to that information and could also learn new skills through our training programme.”
Input from young people themselves is regarded as crucial to ensure the work of Young People’s Healthwatch is relevant.
Volunteers could become young ambassadors – to help spread the word about Healthwatch and represent the organisation at local events – or mystery shoppers, who go undercover to gather feedback about health and social care services.
They could also be ‘media gurus’ – charged with developing social media and other advertising resources aimed at young people – or researchers.
Ms Sensier said: “We want Young People’s Healthwatch to focus on issues that are most important to this particular age group so we’re looking for under-25s to make a genuine contribution towards improving life for themselves and their peers.
“Volunteers can come from any walk of life – the only criteria they need is to have an interest in the delivery of health and social care in their area.
“It’s a chance to make a difference to the community, meet new people, enhance skills and knowledge and access training and support. It can also add valuable experience to a CV and volunteers only give as much time as they can.
“Only by working together can we hope to ensure the services and support available is the best it can be.”
AFTER an impressive first year the Staffordshire Youth Commission has been asked to continue its work for a second year and Police and Crime Commissioner Matthew Ellis is now appealing to young people in Tamworth to come forward.
The Staffordshire Youth Commission was established as a pilot project in 2016 to provide 14-25 year-olds with the opportunity to help shape the future of policing.
The unique group immediately identified six areas of concern they wanted to focus on; hate crime and islamophobia, cyber-bullying and safety online, drug and alcohol abuse, stereotyping and trust in the police, knife and gang crime and changing lives away from crime.
Since identifying these priorities the members have gone on to speak with 1,500 other young people across Staffordshire to gain their views and opinions on policing, the criminal justice system and what they feel is important to their generation.
A year’s worth of work cumulated with a ‘Big Conversation’ allowing the Youth Commission to present its findings and recommendations to key organisations and influencers including PCC Matthew Ellis, Deputy Chief Constable Nick Baker and representatives from the Princes Trust, YMCA and Staffordshire County Council.
Recommendations included involving Youth Commission members helping police to run online safety sessions with their peers, the OPCC to encourage youth groups, schools and organisations to take part in educational sessions with those who have been directly affected by drug and alcohol abuse and providing more information to employers on criminal records so they can make an educated employment decision based on an individual’s risk of reoffending.
The group is made up of people from across Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent and includes those who have been victims or witnesses of crime and those with an interest in policing and related fields such as criminology and law.
Mr Ellis said: ‘The Staffordshire Youth Commission is a seriously impressive bunch of young people and I was blown away by their insightful and well thought out feedback.
‘I commissioned this group to carry out in-depth work to gain the views of young people but also to involve them in the work to improve the criminal justice system and to shape policing in Staffordshire. I know young people in Tamworth have plenty of opinions and great ideas and we want to hear them.
‘It was fantastic to see the members of the Youth Commission take ownership of this project and come up with some great recommendations to improve relationships with the police.
‘I am incredibly grateful for all their hard work which is why I have commissioned them for a second year and agreed to provide £10,000 to help them put their plans into action. I’m looking forward to seeing what they come up with next.’
Deputy Chief Constable, Nick Baker said: ‘It was fantastic to hear the detailed feedback from the Staffordshire Youth Commission. They had some great recommendations on how we can work with young people to get a better understanding of the crimes that particularly worry them, how they view the police and how they suggest we can engage better with young people in the community.’
Rebecca, a Youth Commission member from Stafford said: ‘I joined the Staffordshire Youth Commission after finding out about it during college. I thought that it would be a great experience which would help me towards my goal of being a police officer in the future.
‘During the time that I’ve been a part of this, I have not only developed a better insight into many topics such as hate crime and islamophobia and, drugs and alcohol, it has also taught me more about how it affects people and what impacts they have on society. I feel as though this opportunity has helped me develop many skills such as public speaking and will stay with me on my journey to achieving my career goals.’
If you are interested in joining call 01785 232491 or join in the conversation on twitter using hashtag #StaffsYC.
TAMWORTH’S first official Dementia Awareness Week was a great success, with people across the borough uniting to raise vital awareness for those living with the condition.
More than a dozen activities took place in Tamworth between Sunday, May 14 and Saturday, May 20, as part of National Dementia Awareness Week, including coffee mornings, drop-in sessions, a market stall, an orienteering walk, a tea party and several ‘tea and twiddle’ sessions.
Participation in the event was one of the first major initiatives to be held since Tamworth won ‘Dementia Friendly Community’ status at the beginning of May.
As well as raising vital awareness, more than £450 was received in donations – over £300 for the Alzheimer’s Society and £150 for the dementia ward at Good Hope Hospital.
People from all walks of life got involved in the week, whether that was by attending a drop-in session, having a cup of coffee and a chat, throwing spare change in the donation box, or knitting a ‘Twiddle Muff’ to help those living with dementia.
Twiddle Muffs are double thickness hand muffs which have buttons, bows, pompoms, zips and other items attached, both inside and out. They help people with dementia to reduce anxiety and occupy their restless hands, as well as providing visual, tactical and sensory stimulation.
So far the people of Tamworth have knitted more than 100 Twiddle Muffs which are being distributed through support groups, care homes and hospitals.
Orienteering walk with Community Together CIC
As a Dementia Friendly Community, Tamworth is going all out to become a town focused on ensuring people with dementia and their carers feel safe, supported and involved in all aspects of community life.
Activities are being co-ordinated through the Tamworth Dementia Action Alliance (TDAA), – a partnership of stakeholders working together to raise awareness and improve services locally. The TDAA now boasts 17 member organisations (and counting) including Tamworth Borough Council, the police, fire service, health care services and providers, community groups and businesses.
David Barnes, Chairman of the TDAA and Alzheimer’s Society volunteer, said: “The main purpose of Dementia Awareness Week was to make contact with people who are affected by dementia either directly – such as those with dementia and their carers – or indirectly, such as their friends, relations or casual acquaintances.
“I believe we achieved this aim and can say the people of Tamworth are truly ‘united against dementia’. The money donated in many cases was a gesture in memory of those lost to dementia and is greatly appreciated by the Alzheimer’s Society. Thank you to everyone who took part in the week.”
Knit Natter at ABs Cafe
Cllr Andrew James, Tamworth Borough Council’s lead member for dementia, said: “The timing of National Dementia Awareness Week was perfect for launching Tamworth as a Dementia Friendly Community and highlighting some of the work that will be taking place to raise awareness and improve services locally for those living with dementia.
“It was a very successful week and I think there is now an improved awareness of dementia as a serious and important issue that is affecting more and more people every year. However, this is only the beginning and we all have a responsibility to ensure people living with dementia feel included, engaged and valued.”
The Tamworth Dementia Action Alliance continues to recruit new members, including businesses, GPs, banks and retailers, and train more people to become Dementia Friends.
There are now more than 1,900 Dementia Friends and 10 Dementia Champions in Tamworth and those numbers are increasing all the time. The overall aim is that wherever people with dementia go to access services, shop, or relax, there will be someone with an understanding about dementia and how the condition affects them.
Knit Natter at Druckers
Becoming a Dementia Friend takes less than an hour and can be done online at https://www.dementiafriends.org.uk/ or by contacting Tamworth Borough Council’s Lead Officer for Dementia Friendly Communities, Karen Clancy, on 01827 709565.
Dementia Champions undertake a day of training and are then able to deliver Dementia Friends awareness sessions in the community. Tamworth’s Dementia Champions include Cllr Tina Clements, TDAA chairman David Barnes and Lee Bates, project co-ordinator of the Community Together CIC – a key member of the TDAA. Between them they have helped create hundreds of new Dementia Friends in the town.
A MAN from the Earls Road area of Nuneaton has been arrested by Anti-Terror police in connection with the terrorist attack in Manchester this week.
Following the arrest, Warwickshire Police have said that they would like to reassure local communities that there are extra officers out on patrol, to offer reassurance and address any concerns from members of the public.
Assistant Chief Constable Martin Evans from Warwickshire Police said: “I know many people in our communities will be very concerned about the raised terror level threat and the recent arrest in Nuneaton, our colleagues from Greater Manchester Police are leading on this investigation .
“We will continue to have increased high visibility police patrols across Warwickshire to provide community reassurance.
“I continue to urge the public to be vigilant, to remain alert but not alarmed and to report any suspicious activity to the police by calling the confidential anti-terrorist hotline on 0800 789321. In an emergency always dial 999.”
In a statement Greater Manchester Police have said: “These searches are connected to an attack on the Manchester Arena, but this is a fast moving investigation and we are keeping an open mind at this stage”.
POLICE in Tamworth have issued a warning after a rise in reports of youths riding their pedal cycles in an anti social manner.
Local officers have stated that there have been a number of reports of youths riding their bikes in an anti-social manner.
This mainly includes riding in large groups on roads pulling wheelies.
There has recently been a large group of youths who rode their bikes on the A51 from Kingsbury towards Dosthill on the 8th April where one male youth pulled a wheelie in front of on coming traffic.
There have also been reports or youths doing this whilst on their way to and from Wilnecote High School and near Wilnecote Junior school.
Police say that they will be monitoring this and will be dealing with anybody caught riding their bikes in an anti-social manner.
Under the Road Traffic Act 1988 (as amended by the Road Traffic Act 1991) it is an offence to ride recklessly on a road or in a dangerous, careless or inconsiderate manner.
Dangerous cycling on a road is an offence and is a more serious offence than careless and inconsiderate cycling. A person is to be regarded as riding dangerously if, and only if, “the way he rides falls far below what would be expected of a competent and careful cyclist, and it would be obvious to a competent and careful cyclist that riding in that way would be dangerous.”
The less serious offence of careless and inconsiderate cycling which states that a person is guilty of such an offence if a person “cycles on a road without due care and attention or without reasonable consideration for other road users”.
A MAN has been arrested following a disturbance near a vigil in Birmingham city centre this evening (Wednesday 23 May 2017).
The 39-year-old Birmingham man – who is known to police and is thought to have a history of mental ill-health – was arrested on suspicion of possession of an offensive weapon.
The event was being held in support of the victims of yesterday’s Manchester terror attack.
Superintendent Andy Parsons, responsible for policing in the west of Birmingham, said: “Officers spotted the man acting suspiciously and spoke to him. At this point they have arrested him.
“The man was carrying a bag, and as a precaution, Victoria Square where the vigil was being held was cleared for around 15 minutes.
“A small axe was recovered along with a large stick.
“We will be interviewing the man to understand his intentions after mental health experts have assessed his condition.
“I’d like to thank people for the calm and collected way in which they responded to the incident. The professionalism of our officers who responded to the incident is also commendable and indicative of British policing.”
The charity Mind is available around the clock to help people experiencing a mental health crisis. Visit their website for advice and support including information for loved ones: www.mind.org.uk
STAFFORDSHIRE is getting set to commemorate Cannock Chase history and the role of WWI training camps
Plans to highlight the history of Cannock Chase and the role of the Great War training camps are being planned for the summer.
The Chase’s two military camps trained over half a million troops for the trenches from across the UK and abroad and today survive as the most complete Great War archaeological sites in the country. Soldiers would have spent several months at the camps to learn the skills required on the Western Front.
Now, 100 years on, a commemoration event being held on 24th and 25th June will pay tribute to the area’s history and role in the Great War.
Visitors will get the chance to experience a WWI field hospital, take a tour of the Great War hut and watch films of the time in an authentic period cinema. The event will also host a full sized replica SE5A Fighter Plane with an opportunity to sit in the cockpit and experience something of the cramped conditions early pilots experienced.
The Birmingham Pals will demonstrate mining techniques and infantry training methods from the period with a chance to enter a mine and experience what it was like to dig for victory on the Western Front.
Gill Heath, Cabinet Member for Communities at Staffordshire County Council said:
“Cannock Chase is steeped in history and we’re incredibly proud to have such a valuable heritage site right on our doorstep.
“We’re looking forward to the event which will give people the chance to learn more about this important landscape and its history. As well as a chance to experience what life was like on the training camps, the event will also show visitors what life would have been like for people living on the Chase thousands of years ago.”
Cannock Chase Council’s Managing Director, Tony McGovern said
“The Chase has a truly special importance in the heritage, history and culture of our District. This event will help people to understand and appreciate how significant a role Cannock Chase has played, not only in the First World War but throughout history.”
The event will also showcase results from the Heritage Lottery funded ‘Chase through Time’ project which is exploring the wider archaeology and history of the Chase. Visitors can experience key periods of the area’s history from the Iron Age, right through to the Norman period and beyond. People will have the chance to talk with local historians, including a Norman resident of the Chase who will explain about hunting during the medieval period.
The event will take place at the Cannock Chase Visitor Centre, on Marquis Drive and is being organised by Staffordshire County Council alongside partners including Cannock Chase District Council, Cannock Chase AONB Unit, Friends of Cannock Chase and Historic England.
People can find out more about the event on the Chase Through Time Facebook page (facebook.com/CTTProject) and can learn more about the county’s Great War commemorations at www.staffordshiregreatwar.com.