AS well as attending a number of fantastic local community events to celebrate the King’s Coronation over the last few weeks, I have also had a number of important constituency meetings – including with local businesses and the Borough’s Police Commander, Chief Superintendent Anthony Tagg.

On top of raising several crime related cases on behalf of constituents, my meeting with the Borough Commander was also a useful opportunity to hear how he plans to use the new ‘local policing model’, and the uplift in officer numbers, to better tackle crime right across the Dudley borough.

The changes mean that far more resources will be deployed to the seven Local Policing Areas – Dudley, Walsall, Sandwell, Wolverhampton, Birmingham, Coventry and Solihull – rather than being retained centrally at a West Midlands Force level.

This means that the local Chief Superintendent will have much more control over their neighbourhood and response teams, and so will be better able to make sure that resources are used to tackle local community priorities.

Roughly 1,200 additional police officers have been recruited across the West Midlands as part of the Government’s national recruitment programme. We are gradually seeing our share of those officers joining local teams, and it was good to hear the Commander’s positive outlook on the difference he thinks this will make.

However, at the same time as this uplift is taking place, the Police and Crime Commissioner for the West Midlands is also proposing to shut Brierley Hill Police Station and move it to a new site on Castlegate in the north end of the borough near Tipton.

While everyone recognises a lot of work would be needed to bring Brierley Hill Police Station up to scratch with a new build replacement, it is absolutely vital that we have a police station in Brierley Hill with local officers working from it.

I made my view on this very clear to the Commander and have joined with local councillors and residents in also expressing this clear view to the elected Police & Crime Commissioner for the West Midlands, Simon Foster, who is responsible for making final decisions on police station locations.

Not too far from Brierley Hill Police Station, I had the pleasure of meeting with Ben Dunscombe who is the new managing director of local engineering firm Welin Lambie.

Based in Brierley Hill, Welin Lambie are a real hidden Black Country gem.

Founded in 1901, the firm produce some of the best marine application products in the world – including for the Royal Yacht Britannia, US Navy and US Coast Guard.

Virtually all of their supply chains come from within a couple of miles of their Brierley Hill factory, meaning that every time the US Navy places an order, it creates and sustains jobs here in the Black Country.

The firm are constantly growing and creating new jobs right here in Brierley Hill, and it was great to hear about some of their training and growth programmes which are offered to help with staff development.