On Thursday night I attended the Cofton Hackett PACT (Partners and Communities Together) meeting, purely as an observer.
PACT meetings give local residents the chance to tell the local policing team, local authority and other partner agencies about the issues that are causing concern within their neighbourhood and attendees vote to prioritise which issues they want to be dealt with. Then the community work together to tackle the problems. Over 40 people attended the meeting and it was chaired very well, with points raised and discussed by any attendee.
The issues raised on the day were very local, and some may say low level, topics included:
- Gritting stations
- Pothole repairs
- Anti-social behaviour
- Crime incidents
- Bus services
- Flooding on roads, and
I was very impressed with how all the various parties worked together. It never got political and it was very much “what can we do to solve the issue.” Two examples were the Parish council had volunteers picking up litter, and there were also separate volunteers who’d grit the steep roads around Cofton Hackett.
Assistant Chief Constable Simon Eden was also attending his first Cofton Hackett PACT meeting and he remarked how great it was to see so many people involved and the difference it can make to the community and his police force. In his words
“This is democracy in action.”
For me as a Liberal Democrat who believes in localism and want more decisions decided by local people, it was fantastic to see it in action and evidently working. The local residents in the community are the key to its success, as other PACT meetings in nearby Birmingham have been sparsely attended, so a huge pat on the back to the residents of Cofton Hackett.