I am delighted to be asked to contribute to the Rushall, Shelfield, Pelsall and Brownhills Neighbourhood Watch Magazine. Let me start by thanking you and your team of volunteers who work so hard on our behalf, for all that you have undertaken in 2018 to support our local community, and not least of all for establishing the new Neighbourhood Watch Group.

I have enjoyed watching the new Rushall, Shelfield, Pelsall and Brownhills group develop throughout this year and I have followed your activities on Facebook as well as attending your meetings. Your hard work reminds me how we can all play a part in our community and more often than not it can be local residents who know a particular street or road best, and know when something doesn’t seem quite right.

We are very fortunate to have a number of Neighbourhood Watch groups locally, and I am very aware of the tremendous support you give to our local Police, making an important difference in helping keep our local area safe and raising awareness of simple steps we can each take to help secure our homes and property.

I was pleased in August to be invited to the Rushall, Shelfield, Pelsall and Brownhills Neighbourhood Watch AGM as it gave me the opportunity to update residents on what I had been doing in Parliament. Two issues that continue to be raised with me are the decision of the West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner to close Aldridge Police Station and Unauthorised Traveller Encampments.

With no further news regarding the police station closure, I am continuing to press for us to be involved in the process and for a timetable to be published, and I have held a series of discussions to continue to raise my concerns. I will keep all residents fully informed.

On the matter of Unauthorised Traveller Encampments, the Government is now considering the many submissions to the consultation, and I recently wrote to the Minister to follow this up. Whilst this summer we saw a welcome decrease in the number of unauthorised encampments I still hope that the outcome of the consultation will lead to a more effective and co-ordinated solution to protect our parks and our much loved open spaces and the detrimental effect these encampments so often have on our communities.

As your MP I will continue to work with community groups and associations from across Rushall, Shelfied, Pelsall and Brownhills to ensure that we retain a strong and vibrant community for the benefit of all residents and I once again look forward to working with you and seeing you at community events during 2019.

This article first appeared in the Rushall, Shelfield, Pelsall & Brownhills Neighbourhood Watch Magazine.