Category Archives: Police

The Frontline is Online – my piece in the Daily Mirror


Dear friends,


You may have seen my piece in the Daily Mirror today; you can read it here below:


Whatsapp is a “disaster for the police” – how we are losing the fight against the digital Jihadis


David Cameron should think again about air strikes against Syria and focus on the real threat to British security: the use of social media to pervert young minds. Labour MP Liam Byrne warns that apps such as Whatsapp, Viber and Snapchat are being used by extremists to groom recruits for ISIS and the police are struggling to stop them




The case of Boy S, the 15 year old Blackburn teenager convicted of inciting terrorism, reveals the new truth in the battle against extremism.

The front line is online. Now the Prime Minister looks poised to halt his expensive bombing plans for Syria, I’ve know a better place to put the money earmarked for Tornados and Brimstone missiles: the digital battle-front, where the case of Boy S proves, we’re being hopelessly out-generaled.

In a shocking testimony, the police laid bare the crucial role of social media through which Boy S was first groomed, and through which he planned mayhem.

It’s a change in tactics signalled in a little discussed manual written by Al Queda in Iraq – the group which became ISIS.

A Course in the Art of Recruiting’ was recovered by US forces in 2009 and sets out step by step the methods deployed by Isis groomers on instant messenger apps like Whatsapp, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, Kik, Viber and a host of apps few parents have ever heard of.

Today these apps are being used to pervert angry young minds with propaganda produced like pop videos, iconic images of the Knights of Lone Jihad and twisted snippets from the Quran, used to justify murder. And we’re not fighting back.

In my patch of East Birmingham, police, parents and teachers are worried. ‘Whatsapp’ is a disaster for the Police’ one intelligence expert told me. ‘We think 80-90% of our problem is the online world’.

It means the government needs to think again about it’s plans for counter-radicalisation coming to parliament this winter.

In the summer, David Cameron heralded new laws to restrict free speech – and take a tougher line on mosques. But the idea risks back-firing badly when the problem is not radical preachers in back-rooms – but chat rooms.

Before we start supporting military intervention in Syria – we should start supporting parents’ intervention at home.

Lobbing a few Brimstone missiles around in Syria costs around £1 million a mission. Frankly the money would be better spent with charities like Jan Trust’s Web Guardians, which teaches parents to spot the warning signs in their child’s online habits.

Why? Because in Birmingham police were shocked to discover at a community event recently that just 10% of mums knew how to log on – never mind check what their kids were surfing online.
Second, in a world where smart phones can be weapons, why don’t we at least have digital safety locks for under 18s – that prevent young people accessing things they shouldn’t. It’s surely not beyond the nation that cracked the Enigma ciphers to invent one.

Third, we need a huge campaign to flood social media with the counter arguments – theological and otherwise – to rebut the perverted arguments of the digital jihadis – arguments which have barely moved on since the last will and testaments of the 7/7 bombers, but which are now produced to world class standards, often by Brits abroad.

Fourth, it’s time to get tougher with digital giants, to force the rapid shut of what is frankly treason and fifth.

We need new laws to create a safe, supervised, judicial process for targeted intelligence gathering online – now mission critical in keeping us safe.

It is said the Prime Minister sees the war against extremism as a generational struggle. He’s right. But as Boy S proves, the prime minister is in danger of fighting the last war – not the digital battle now at hand.


Liam Byrne is the Labour MP for Birmingham Hodge Hill


Christmas crime prevention from West Midlands Police

Christmas crime prevention from West Midlands Police

All you need to know to keep safe at Christmas

Our Christmas Safety Guide contains lots of useful tips to help you keep yourself, your home, your car and valuables safe over the festive period. Please take a few minutes to read through our safety tips.

Keep your home secure

  • Securely lock all doors and windows before going out or going to bed. Use a timer device to switch lights on after dark.
  • Don’t put presents under the tree until the last possible moment – and close curtains so your gifts can’t be seen from the street.
  • Mark your postcode on new presents with a UV pen. Note down the serial number and record it at so if it is ever stolen, you’re more likely to get it back.
  • After Christmas, remove any trace of expensive gift packaging by taking discarded boxes to the tip or recycling centre.

Keep your car safe

  • Check your fob has done its job – don’t assume your vehicle is secure, always check doors and windows are locked before you walk away.
  • Remove valuables such as sat navs, MP3 players, laptops, tablets, coats and loose change before leaving the vehicle.
  • Wipe away tell-tale suction marks from the windscreen – this may alert a thief to your sat nav being hidden inside the vehicle.
  • Don’t advertise what you’ve bought by leaving gifts on show while you return to the shops – lock everything away in the boot. Take shopping inside immediately when you get home.

Freeze out car thieves

  • Don’t leave your vehicle unattended and the engine running while it defrosts – a thief could drive off with it.
  • Stay with your vehicle and if you’re in a rush, use de-icing spray and a scraper to speed up the process.
  • Sit inside your vehicle while the heater de-mists the windscreen.
  • Claims on insurance policies can be affected if the vehicle owner is deemed partly responsible for the theft.

 Love your phone

  • Be discreet – keep your phone and other valuables out of sight in public.
  • Note down the unique IMEI number – you will need this number to report a stolen phone. Key *#06# into your mobile to display this number on screen.
  • Listen to your instincts – know your route, avoid dark places and if you don’t feel safe, move to a busier area.
  • Trace lost or stolen phones by activating the in-built tracker app or by downloading a reputable one from your app store.

 Beat the pickpockets

  • Keep handbags closed and close to you, and wallets out of back pockets.
  • Try not to overload yourself with bags and coats.
  • Don’t leave pushchairs, shopping bags or trolleys unattended. Take personal belongings with you into changing rooms.
  • Be discreet when handling cash and cards at the till and at cash machines – put them away immediately and keep an eye on who is around.

 Socialise safely

  • Pubs, restaurants and other venues will be crowded, so don’t hang bags over the back of your chair and keep wallets and purses close to your body.
  • Have fun but drink sensibly – binge drinking and excessive drinking at home before a night out puts you at risk of crime. Never leave drinks unattended or accept them from strangers.
  • Find out the times of the last tram, train or bus home, or pre-book a taxi from a local licensed operator.
  • Never drive under the influence of drink or drugs.

Statement on arrests at Adderley School – 17 April 2014


Dear Friends


Just a quick update to say I have been briefed by the West Midlands Police this morning on the arrests at Adderley School. At this stage, its important to note two things:


(1) The arrests relate to events specific to Adderley school and


(2) they are arrests – no-one has yet been charged for anything and the full investigation has to run its course. So I hope we’ll all give the police the space to their job – and not engage in a trial by media.


I’ll post more news when I can





Hodge Hill weekly crime figures and detail: 20th – 27th March 2014



Recorded Crime 40
ASB Incidents 3


There have been two burglaries this week – one was a ‘car key’ burglary where offenders broke into a house on Ermington Crescent to steal the owner’s car. The other burglary was on Stechford Road where the suspects forced open a rear window and stolen computers.


Advice – Don’t advertise you are out by leaving your home in darkness. With the lighter evenings and warmer days please don’t leave windows open.


One vehicle has been stolen this week – a moped from Ward End. Someone cut the chains securing a motorbike from the same area and tried to that too but were unsuccessful.

Three vehicles had items stolen from them – two were number plates and the third was a car that was left insecure and someone removed the driving documents.


Advice – Don’t leave items on display in your vehicle.


There have been no robberies this week.


Other Information:

It has been a much better week compared with last in relation to last week.


We have arrested a male this week for a breach of his ASBO and a racially aggravated public order offence. He is currently on bail while we liaise with the Crown Prosecution Service. This is thanks to joint partnership working with the housing department.


On Saturday 12th April between 3-4pm we will be at Ward End library with crime prevention advice and tamper-proof screws for car number plates. We hope to see you there.


Contact Us:

We would like you to follow us on Twitter @HodgeHillPolice


If you have any information about crime or ASB in your area contact us on: 101 ext 7601 6392 or call Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.

You can email us on:

Hodge Hill Ward – Crime figures and detail – 27th Feb – 6th March 2014

Hodge Hill Ward

Crime figures and detail

Date range: 27th Feb – 6th March 2014

Recorded Crime 31
ASB Incidents 3



There has been one burglary and one attempt this week. Both were in the same block of flats on Washwood Heath Raod. We will be linking in with the housing trust about the security issues there.

Advice – Please ensure you secure your property at night and when you are not present. Lock patio and porch doors and do not leave the keys in them or near them – as this provides an easy escape route once the thieves are inside.


One vehicle was stolen this week – a new transit van where the owner had dropped the keys and the suspect picked them up and took the van. This was on Drews Lane. Two vehicles have had number plates stolen and a drill was taken from a van.

Advice – Please be aware of your surroundings when locking your vehicle. Park in well lit areas.


There have been two robberies one was a business robbery where a motorbike was stolen from near to the Hunters Moon – a male is in custody for this. The other relates to a suspect pretending to want to buy a phone from someone on Gumtree – who has then had the phone and other items stolen. There are lines of enquiry with this and arrests will be made soon.

Advice – Please remain vigilant and be aware of your surroundings at all times. Try not to make yourself vulnerable to being targeted.


Other Information:

The team have been concentrating their patrols around Bromford Drive and the tower blocks this week and we have conducted a letter and leaflet drop to every flat in WarstoneTower. We have been doing regular walk throughs to combat anti-social behaviour from the local youths.


There have been a number of meetings in relation to other civil interventions – joint visits and meetings with youths in relation to anti-social behaviour issues.


We are working with BCC in relation to a group of travellers who have moved on to Berrandale Road.


Contact Us:

We would like you to follow us on Twitter @HodgeHillPolice


If you have any information about crime or ASB in your area contact us on: 101 ext 7601 6392 or call Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.

You can email us on:


“Courier-Scam” – new West-Mids Police campaign





Today (Thursday 13 February) West Midlands Police have launched a drive to raise awareness about a new scam which is conning the region’s elderly out of thousands of pounds with banking scare stories.


Fraud investigators have reported a surge in reports from residents who’ve been stung by a “courier scam” which sees tricksters talking vulnerable people into handing over bank cards and PIN numbers.


The ruse involves callers posing as police officers and panicking targets into believing their bank account has been hacked…and that they need to seize the cards and security details, including PIN numbers, to stop further fraudulent transactions.


In some cases, the scammers have sent couriers to the customer’s homes to collect bank cards which have then been used to withdraw cash or go on spending sprees.


The tactic gained popularity amongst con artists last year and in the first six weeks of this year more than 30 people − whose ages range from 59 to 93 − have fallen foul of the con.

The victims identified so far this year have collectively lost around £10,000 to the scam.


To help us stop these criminals in their tracks, we’re asking for your help to spread word of this scam among your friends, family and colleagues.


Protect yourself against courier fraud:

• Your bank or police will never send a courier to your home to collect bank cards
• Your bank or police will never ask for your PIN number
• If you receive one of these calls end it immediately.

If you’ve been a victim call your bank and cancel your cards immediately − try to call from a different phone if reporting it immediately after being contacted by someone you believe was a scammer − and report it to West Midlands Police on 101.


To find out more search “courier scam” on our website:

Crime figures and detail: Hodge Hill


Crime figures and detail: Hodge Hill

Date range: 30th Jan – 6th Feb 2014



There has been one burglary this week – in Ward End, a substantial amount of cash and gold was stolen. Enquiries are ongoing.

Advice – Have you thought about Neighbourhood Watch or Street Watch? This is a good way of keeping an eye on your neighbours’ properties and for them to do the same for you (contact us on the below numbers to find out more). Timer switches and ‘fake TVs’ are also a good deterrent.


Three vehicles were stolen this week – two were BMWs and both were taken from Hodge Hill. The third one was a Toyota stolen from Coleshill Rd. All three involved the driver’s window being smashed and the vehicles taken without the keys.

Advice – If you have a performance car and no garage please consider blocking it in with another vehicle or using a steering wheel lock.


There have been two robberies this week, one involved an attack on a drunk couple on their way home from the pub and the other was an armed attack on a shop – four males have been arrested for this matter.

Advice – Please be vigilant and aware of your surroundings at all times. Try not to make yourself vulnerable to being targeted. Keep money and phones out of sight at all times

Other Information:

We are always looking for new and better ways to engage with the community – please feel free to email us with suggestions. We are looking at the possibility of a weekly drop-in centre for residents to come and speak to us and a number of other partner agencies. If there is a community centre or other public building near you (within Hodge Hill Ward) that you would like us to visit and run a beat surgery from then please drop us an email.


This week has also seen all the PCSOs trained in restorative justice which is a great tool for dealing with neighbourhood disputes and anti-social behaviour issues.


Contact Us:

We would like you to follow us on Twitter @HodgeHillPolice


If you have any information about crime or ASB in your area contact us on: 101 ext 7601 6392 or call Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.

You can email us on:

Adjournment Debate on Deaths in Custody – Tuesday 4 February


Earlier this week I secured an adjournment debate in Parliament to discuss Legal Aid for the families of those found dead in police custody.


It appears to be usual practice that the families of those who have died whilst in police custody are required to make a financial contribution to the costs of the Inquest into their relative’s death.


In modern Britain this is an affront to justice.


– You can find the official copy of my speech to the House of Commons here.

– The Birmingham Mail did a piece on my adjournment debate which you can access here.

– The brilliant charity Inquest, which provides support to those bereaved families facing an inquest, are an invaluable source of expertise and assistance on this issue. You can access their website here.


Crime figures and detail for Shard End Ward


Crime figures and detail for Shard End Ward

Date range: 16th – 23rd January 2014

Recorded Crime  ASB incidents
27 2






  • One offence of robbery this week, a male described as 5’7” tall of stocky build with a dark beard wearing a blue top and a dark hat and gloves. He snatched a phone from a female, punching her in the process at a bus stop on Hurst Lane on Tuesday 21st at approximately 3:45 pm. Did you see anything?
  • Only one vehicle offence this week, theft of a scooter which has subsequently been recovered and a person arrested and charged. Operation Repel is working.
  • 2 Burglaries this week but unconnected. One involved the metal being stolen from a void property at some point over the past 3 months. The second was committed on Wednesday 22nd between 2:30pm  and 5pm on the border with Strechford on Flaxley Road whereby an unknown offender(s) have climbed through an insecure upstairs window and taken jewellery.
  • 2 ASB incidents this week both emanating from neighbour disputes. Both will be investigated thoroughly by both ourselves and relevant partner agencies.






  • We are currently looking at a few different styles for this report in future. Please let us know if you have any feedback regarding the presentation or content.
  • We are holding a meeting at the library on Monday 27th January at 630pm for the residents of All Saints Square. Councillors John Cotton and Marje Bridle will also be in attendance. If you live locally or use the shops and library come along and join the group.



For more information about crime and anti-social behaviour in your area visit

If you have any information about crime or ASB in your area contact us on:
101 ext 7601 6375 or call Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.
You can email us on:



Crime Figures and Details for Hodge Hill

Crime figures and detail for Hodge Hill Ward

Date range: 16th – 23rd January 2014


Recorded Crime  ASB incidents
46 2





  • There have been five burglaries this week which includes an attempt. One happened on Morris road over a number of days and is unclear whether anything was taken. The attempt was on Haydock close – a window was broken but no access gained to the premises. There was a burglary on Coleshill road where high value goods were taken – there are some positive lines of enquiry with this and there is CCTV at the location. A bail hostel was broken into – nothing was taken but a message was left for the occupant at the address. The last one was on Dreghorn Rd where two Paystations were taken.
  • Three vehicle were stolen – two scooters/mopeds and one car. One of the scooters was recovered near to the offence location as the thieves didn’t manage to take it – but did manage to leave a mobile phone behind. Enquiries are ongoing in this matter. There is no trace of the second scooter. The car was a high value BMW which was stolen without the keys – this is investigated by a central team who are specialists in this type of crime. There have been five offences where number plates were stolen from vehicles across the whole area, and one where a drill was stolen from a van.
  • There was one robbery this week – between school pupils. The suspect has been named and brought in for questioning today.




  • Please make use of timer switches in your houses – even for the times before you get home from work – just to give the appearance of someone being in.
  • For those of you who own motorbikes or scooters – these are clearly being targeted at present – ensure you have a proper strong bike lock as these are the best deterrent to thieves. They are expensive but can often reduce your insurance costs.

For more information about crime and anti-social behaviour in your area visit


If you have any information about crime or ASB in your area contact us on:
101 ext 7601 6392 or call Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.
You can email us on: