Members of the public are being actively discouraged from attending neighbourhood police meetings as cuts in funding bite, it has been claimed.
The council’s new crime and community safety watchdog committee heard that neighbourhood policing meetings are now only open to councillors and a couple of hand-picked residents.
Committee member Coun Marje Bridle (Lab, Shard End) said that she had been ticked off by police officers for advertising the meetings to residents.
She said: “We are very inclusive in our ward and like to get residents involved so I sent out an invite. But I was told by police that they don’t really like residents coming along. They only want to deal with policing issues, they don’t want the public talking about the environment or housing or those sorts of problems.”
She suggested that either cuts in policing budgets were encouraging police to cut their activity, or bureaucracy was stopping open meetings.
But Jan Kimber, head of the city’s Community Safety Partnership, insisted there was nothing to stop the meetings being open.
The new Labour cabinet member in charge of community safety, James McKay replied: “It sounds like there has been a narrowing of the community safety agenda into a pure policing agenda.” He promised to investigate.