Police minister backs Birmingham Live campaign to end ‘rip-down’ crisis of exempt hostels

A senior minister has pledged to support Birmingham’s efforts to crack down on the impact of “rebate” housing going badly after police uncovered a hard link to the crime.

Police Minister Kit Malthhouse had no doubts about the desperate effect in Lozells because of the concentration of homes full of troubled and vulnerable, drug addicts and former criminals, the neighborhood stuck with nothing to do and, often, little support.

And he told Birmingham Live: “I’m going to go back and have an urgent conversation not only with (Leveling Up, Housing and Communities Secretary) Michael Gove, but with the Department of Work and Pensions, which will help these homes through housing benefits. system to see what else we can do and tackle this problem of landlords taking advantage of the welfare system.”

Read about discounted housing here: Crooks and fraudsters ‘free to exploit’ in city’s £110 million discounted housing sector

He said officials had told him during his visit that resolving the exemption issue was the “single thing” he could do that would make his life easier.

It was also a message by West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner Simon Foster, who told them that it was important that the government took immediate action to regulate the exempt sector in order to allow enforcement against providers who seek vulnerable tenants. Not taking care of properly.

Assistant Chief Constable Richard Baker also flagged the ongoing problem of “discounted housing” – a type of supported housing that allows landlords to provide increased housing benefits on behalf of their tenants on the promise of providing them with support and care. allows to claim.

Kit Malhouse, Police Minister with officers on patrol in Lozelso

While some are going very well, Mr Baker said: “No one takes the owners and managers of discounted housing to account.

“For example, in one case, a landowner’s ‘support’ was providing one bread and jam a week.

“But you are talking about residents who may have mental health issues, others who are domestic abuse victims, domestic abuse offenders, housed with high levels of drug and alcohol use.

“It’s very difficult for the police”, Lozelles Inspector Nick Hill said, adding that “it is very difficult to work with the law (in this area) at the moment”.

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During a briefing and walkout that took place in parts of Soho Road, Villa Road and St George’s Park, the minister was told that hotspots for crime in the area overlap with places that had a high concentration of exempt properties.

The region, home to the most underprivileged 1% in the country, has been at the center of a wave of violence, with county line drug dealing operations and gang culture contributing to the incidents.

But Malthhouse claimed “we are seeing a drop in numbers” during his visit to Birmingham (Thursday) to see the result of government-funded “hot-spot” effect policing.

Just before Christmas last year, a 13-year-old boy was shot in the back, causing life-changing injuries to the victim.

BirminghamLive stands with residents and is calling for immediate action to end the misery of tenants living in badly ‘discounted’ hostels and homes and knocking down communities.

After talking to city lawmakers, council leaders, housing campaigners and specialist organizations, we have five questions for the government and the regulator of social housing.

Our five questions – explained in detail here – are:

1. Launch investigation of landlords and agents to prevent gangsters from getting involved

2. Tighten regulations to raise standards of care associated with increased housing benefits, clearly setting out what care is expected

3. Give local councils the necessary powers to manage who goes where and bar providers of certain areas that are already full of hostels, using updated planning and licensing laws

4. Give the Sentinel the appropriate powers and resources to stop the bad behavior – Fasting

5. Champion good landlords and shame the bad guys on the public list.

Five teenagers were jailed after Keon Lincoln, a 15-year-old schoolboy, was shot dead in nearby Handsworth in November.

But along with these heinous crimes, the day-to-day violence also affects families across the region.

Mr Malhouse was briefed by top West Midlands police officers who were determining how the Home Office had spent some of the £16 million given by the Home Office over three years to reduce serious violence.

He heard how 70–80% of households in Lozelles’ ward are classified as disadvantaged and more than 50% of the population – many of them young – have little or no education or formal qualifications.

Lozels. Kit Malhouse Minister for Policing on the Roads Tour

Inspector Nick Hill, the area’s policing commander, also described how the area was selected by the force as an “influence” zone, meaning targeted policing – which includes the identification of “hot-spot” areas within the lozenges.

As a result of the police’s efforts in the last one year, there has been a 38% reduction in knife crime, 29% drop in dacoity and 38% reduction in vehicle crime, data from the force showed.

The force uses street-level data and local intelligence to uncover where the most serious violent crimes are taking place, then sends officers to gather intelligence, patrol and make arrests.

It has also established a so-called “Guardian Task Force” made up of 25 officers, which since April 2021 has conducted 1,200 stops and searches, 211 arrests and recovered 169 weapons.

Mr Hill explained that Lozelles was chosen as the policing focus because it was “an area with a disproportionate amount of crime, demand, deprivation and harm”.

He said working with the community – which includes a vocal Stop and Search Scrutiny panel and headed by residents – as well as parents, business owners and religious leaders was helping to reduce crime.

Mr Malhouse heard that such a partnership would help “solve problems in the long term”.

The inspector linked the level of deprivation in the area, meaning “crime groups have opportunities for exploitation”, through crime such as prostitution and the drug trade.


Speaking to Birmingham Live after the visit, Mr Malthhouse said: “I’m here because it’s an area of ​​concentration for some of the work we’re doing nationally to help build a safer country on violence and gangs and drugs.” We’re trying to do what we can.”

He said the force was having a “very impressive effect” on “key indicators” of neighborhood crime, robbery and violence.

Mr Malhouse said: “We looked at this modern approach to hot-spot policing, using really close analysis of where the violence is taking place, making sure you’ve got the police at the right time.

“We’ve put a lot of money into this in 18 regions of the country and the results so far are looking great.”

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He said: “Overall, we are seeing a significant drop in the number of violence across the country over the past few years.

“But there’s more to do.”

Mr Malhouse said the approach was not only about enforcement, but in the long run, ensuring that young children were “turned away” from a life of crime.

“Now, it is difficult to operate, it takes a long time to commission that tanker,” he said.

“Police enforcement can have a good short-term effect but will take a long time to act.”

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