Pledge for more police on the beat as communities witness 'too much violence'
The region's crime commissioner has pledged to increase the number of police officers on the beat in the county, saying communities are witnessing too much violence.
John Campion, West Mercia's Police and Crime Commissioner, has included the plan for more bobbies pounding the streets in his 'Safer West Mercia' proposal – which sets out his plan for policing across the region over the next four years.
The Conservative Crime Commissioner said he wants to add to the 400 officers recruited since 2016, and spoke during his campaign for re-election of ambitions for the force to have "the highest number of officers it has ever had".
Mr Campion, who was first elected in 2016, has also reiterated his desire to take over the running fire service – a controversial ambition which has drawn legal challenges and has been put on hold by the government.
Outlining his plans for the next four years Mr Campion said he wanted to "continue to increase officer numbers in West Mercia", and said he wants the force's funding to be focused towards frontline policing.
His report lists the ambition to "increase proportions of annual budgets prioritised towards frontline services, through continued organisational efficiency and transformation".
It comes after it was revealed over the weekend that more than 600 West Mercia officers were assaulted last year, with Mr Campion saying communities are witnessing too much violence.
He also called on the public to be prepared to step up and "protect the protectors, be it by calling out violence involving people we know, or by being prepared to act as a witness".
With reference to his stalled bid to take over management of Shropshire Fire & Rescue Service, he spelled out a desire to "support fire governance changes to deliver closer working with our local fire and rescue services where it is in the public interest, and in line with government reform".
Mr Campion is running a consultation on the plan and said: "I have made clear promises to the communities of Shropshire, Herefordshire, Telford & Wrekin and Worcestershire and this plan will make good those promises.
"Now is the time to build on the investment, tough decisions and progress we’ve made, for the benefit of the communities, and take it to the next level. Our communities rightly expect a police service they can access and trust, and they expect to feel safer where they live and work. There is always more that can be done and I will continue to be relentless in my drive to see that happen."
The consultation is open until November 1 and a link to the draft plan and consultation survey is available at https://www.westmercia-pcc.gov.uk/pcc-launches-new-plan-to-deliver-a-safer-west-mercia/.