As your local Member of Parliament and a proud resident of Wolverhampton, I want to make sure our city becomes a safer and a cleaner place to live in, work and visit. Below, you will find details about some of the initiatives that I am running on this issue. I would welcome your feedback on what more I could be doing.
Building Safer Neighbourhoods:
- I want people everywhere to feel secure in their communities and to be able to live their lives free from the threat of crime.
- For starters, I am pleased that the Government is investing an additional £35 million in the West Midlands Police this year. It will help us to deliver on our commitment to recruiting 20,000 extra police officers across the country. Newly released figures show that 867 police officers have been recruited in the West Midlands as part of the Government’s pledge to put 20,000 more officers on the streets. Since the recruitment drive was launched in 2019, an additional 11,053 officers have been recruited across England and Wales, bringing the total number of police officers to 139,908.
- On top of this, the West Midlands Police received £2,940,000 in March 2021 to tackle violent crime and address its underlying causes in our community and more than £2 million in July 2021 to support young people at risk of serious violence, including access to specialist support and trained youth workers. Wolverhampton's bid to the Government's Safer Streets Fund has also been successful, with £247,602 to crack down on neighbourhood crimes like burglary, vehicle theft, and robbery. In October 2021, the West Midlands Police received £549,515.00 from the third round of the Safer Streets Fund for local projects aimed at increasing the safety of public spaces for all, with a particular focus on tackling violence against women and girls. Safer Streets is just one of the ways Government is working to tackle violence against women and girls. In August, the Government published its Tackling Violence Against Women and Girls Strategy, which commits to radically changing how we stop violence and abuse using a whole system approach, focused on long term change alongside immediate practical action to improve women’s physical safety in public spaces.
Supporting Online Safety:
- In May, we published the Online Safety Bill in draft. This is a major milestone in the development of a new regulatory framework to keep users safe online. For the first time, tech companies are going to be accountable to an independent regulator to keep their users safe. The draft bill will be subject to pre-legislative scrutiny in this session, with the Joint Committee due to report by the 10th of December.
- We are also taking steps to educate and empower users to make more informed and safer choices online. In July we published the first government Online Media Literacy Strategy, which sets out the government’s approach to improving media literacy capabilities among internet users in England. The Media Literacy Strategy will promote media literacy as a complementary tool to the new regulatory regime, providing coordination to the main organisations seeking to empower users with the skills and knowledge they need to stay safe online.
- I am encouraging constituents to stay vigilant about scams, which may mimic government messages as a way of appearing authentic. Information on how to recognise genuine HMRC contact can be found on GOV.UK. Customers can forward suspicious emails claiming to be from HMRC to email@example.com and texts to 60599 and access the National Cyber Security Centre’s guide on how to stay secure online and protect yourself and your business against cybercrime. Fraud or any incidents of cybercrime can be reported to Action Fraud using their online reporting service or by calling 0300 123 2040. Reports are passed to the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau. You will receive a police crime reference number.
Tidying up our Streets:
- Litter and fly-tipping is unacceptable. It is a blight on local communities and the environment. I am delivering on my pledge to work with residents to clean up the streets and to make our communities a better place to live in. As part of this, I set up ‘Stuart’s Street Cleans.’ These regular volunteering sessions have brought together many individuals from different backgrounds around one common endeavour: to tidy up our streets! While this seems like a simple thing to do, tidier communities are an essential ingredient that helps to create happier ones. I would encourage anyone that would like to take part to contact me for more information.
- I stood on a manifesto which committed the Government to increasing the penalties for fly-tipping. Local authorities have been given funding to tackle this problem, with Wolverhampton receiving £500,000 and a range of powers available to tackle fly-tipping, which include the power to issue fixed penalty notices of up to £400 for those caught fly-tipping. If you see any incidents of fly-tipping, please be sure to report it to the appropriate authority, the City of Wolverhampton Council, at https://www.wolverhampton.gov.uk/environment-and-climate/fly-tipping.
- During my election campaign, I also campaigned for Wolverhampton’s tips to remain open seven days a week. From 1st June 2020, the sites have been open for seven days a week from 10 am. I encourage all visitors to follow social distancing, to only make essential trips, and not to visit if any resident or their household has symptoms of Covid-19.