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West Mercia Police levels to hit seven-year high as 214 more officers recruited

By Mark Andrews | Bridgnorth | Crime | Published:

West Mercia Police is to get an extra 176 police officers by the end of the year, taking numbers to their highest level in seven years.

Police and crime commissioner John Campion said recruitment and training of new officers in the force were at record levels. The new recruits will mean a year-on-year increase in police numbers of more than 11 per cent.

The extra officers do not include the extra 20,000 nationally pledged by the Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

Mr Campion said the force would be at full capacity by the end of the year and that any extra officers resulting from the Prime Minister’s announcement would be on top of that.

Police and Crime Commissioner John Campion

At the moment there are 2,069 officers across the West Mercia force area, which covers Shropshire, Herefordshire and Worcestershire. The extra recruitment will take the total number to 2,245.

The figures are on top of 39 officers recruited earlier this year, taking the total number of extra police in the force to 215.

'Record levels'

Mr Campion said:“Our communities rightly want visible and accessible policing and I have already delivered on the promises, I’ve made through my through my investment in 215 extra officers.

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“Recruitment and training, is at record levels and West Mercia Police will be at establishment by the end of the year.

“The Prime Minister’s recent pledge to recruit 20,000 new officers is a welcome addition and West Mercia’s communities will benefit accordingly.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced 20,000 extra UK police officers in Birmingham last month

“West Mercia stands ready to help deliver the Prime Ministers pledge to significantly increase the number of police officers on our streets.”

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The news came after it was revealed that police and crime commissioner for the neighbouring West Midlands force revealed that he had written to the Prime Minister asking for assurances that the area would get its fair share of the 20,000 extra officers he had promised.

Mr Jamieson said the force had lost 2,131 officers since 2010, and called on the Government to restore numbers to the same level.

'Fair share'

Mr Jamieson said: “Since 2010 West Midlands Police has lost £175 million and over 2,000 officers. I have written to the Prime Minister and Home Secretary to ensure we receive our fair share of officers.

“When Boris Johnson and Priti Patel visited the West Midlands to announce their pledge of more officers they will have heard about the strains on our force and the increased levels of complex and violent crimes we face compared to rural areas.

“It therefore makes sense that we should receive funding to reverse the loss in officers we have faced. That funding should not disproportionately go to rural areas with lower crime levels.”

Dave Thompson, chief constable of West Midlands Police, said an extra 1,200 officers would mark a “substantial lift in resources”.

Mr Thompson said: “I do not yet know how many officers West Midlands Police will receive. The force accounts for six per cent of the grant government allocated to policing.

“If that was the means to allocate the officers it would be a lift of 1,200 officers over three years. This could be a substantial lift in resources. There will be police staff resources in addition to help manage the logistics of recruitment.”

He added: “Having seen policing budgets decline for nine years this is welcome. The detail is not clear but the prospect of an improved position is to be welcomed.

Meanwhile, Mr Jamieson has raised concerns over PCSO and police staff numbers, which have not been mentioned in the Government’s plans.

“PCSOs and police staff are an integral part of the police family, without whom police officers would be unsupported,” he said.

“From answering emergency 999 calls to forensics, staff play a crucial part in policing and need to be in the Government’s plans.”

Earlier this year Telford & Wrekin Council backed a motion calling for 'fairer funding' for police in the borough.

Labour's Councillor Richard Overton described cuts to funding as an insult to the police and the public, and said crime had increased by 35 per cent since 2010.

During a council meeting in March he said: “Cuts to policing are making an impact. Fewer visible officers means people’s fear of crime is increasing.

"The people of our borough deserve better, they deserve to be protected and to know that crime does not pay. Currently officers are doing their best to keep people safe but they are having to do more with less.”

Mark Andrews

By Mark Andrews
@MAndrews_Star

Senior news writer for the Shropshire Star specialising in in-depth features and commentary, investigative reporting and political matters.

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