As this is the first magazine of the New Year I wanted to take this opportunity to thank members of the Rushall, Shelfield, Pelsall and Brownhills Neighbourhood Watch for all that you did during 2018 to support our local Police and our local community, making an important difference in helping to keep us safe and raising awareness of simple steps we can each take to help secure our homes and property.

Having successfully persuaded the Government to hold a ‘Call for Evidence’ on the issue of Unauthorised Traveller Encampments that have repeatedly blighted large parts of Aldridge-Brownhills I am pleased that the Government is now proposing action to deal with this matter.

The Government’s ‘Call for Evidence’ has demonstrated the need to address the growing sense of unease and intimidation residents feel when an Unauthorised Traveller Encampment occurs. A strengthening of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 to permit the Police greater powers to remove an Unauthorised Traveller Encampment will be welcomed by Neighbourhood Watch groups across Aldridge-Brownhills.

I have repeatedly raised this issue in Parliament because of concerns raised by my constituents who have faced repeated incursions and who now want to see the balance redressed and fairness put back into our communities. I believe there is now the will to strengthen the law and redress that balance and I will continue to keep you informed about this important matter.

I was pleased at the beginning of February to spend the afternoon out and about in the community with our fantastic local Police Officers. It was a great opportunity for me to see first-hand how they are tackling crime both in a proactive and reactive way. It also gave me an informative insight in to the various jobs our hardworking local policing team undertake on the front line day and night, to keep us safe locally.

Whilst there is still no further news regarding the Aldridge police station closure, I am remain committed to ensuring that the West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner involves local residents in this process and I will continue to press for a timetable to be published. I will keep residents informed.

As your MP I once again look forward to working with you and seeing you at community events throughout the year