MORE bobbies are pounding the beat in Halesowen town centre - despite an overall cut in the number of police officers.

Inspector Dez Lambert said by an improved use of resources gave officers more time to patrol the centre - which is a crime hotspot, even on their way to catch the bus to cover Quarry Bank, when there are no cars available.

Neighbourhood teams covering Quarry Bank and Dudley Wood, Cradley and Wollescote have moved from Stourbridge to Halesowen Police Station, both similar distances from their patches.

But the move means they can share responsibilities and patrol where most needed.

A police stand is also to be opened in the Cornbow Centre, near the Asda entrance, in a couple of weeks, which will manned on Saturdays, with officers offering help, advice and crime prevention information.

PC Rob Brookes reported to the Halesowen Chamber of Trade there had been 19 thefts in two months in the town centre, 10 of which were shoplifting offences committed at Asda.

Insp Lambert said high security at the supermarket meant a large number of offenders were caught.