Crime more than doubles in 'wild' West Midlands over decade
Crime has more than doubled in the space of a decade across the "wild" West Midlands with the number of offences soaring to over 350,000, figures show.
Police chiefs revealed in a Freedom of Information (FOI) request crime had increased from the 171,732 recorded in 2012 to 365,539 in 2022 – up 193,807.
The increase has led to criticism of the Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) role, introduced in 2012, by a former Conservative candidate for the position.
However this has been rejected by the current holder of the role Simon Foster, who pointed the blame at the "reckless financial cuts" from the Government.
Conservative Jay Singh-Sohal, who lost out at the ballot box in 2021, said: "Our region has now become the 'wild' West Midlands after a decade of Labour PCCs 'playing politics' with the role rather than doing the job.
"It’s a surprise West Midlands Police has not yet been placed into special measures because of these crime figures. So, we need to take action sooner rather than later. It’s now time for the government to intervene to give our elected Mayor powers over policing, such as it is in London and Manchester, so that Labour’s failures can finally be addressed with a robust and direct approach to get crime down."
Mr Singh-Sohal said the figures were evidence of a "clear failure" on getting to grip of tackling crime, saying Mr Foster should step aside – and reiterated calls for the role to be merged with the West Midlands Mayor.
Mr Foster, first elected in 2021, said: "The reckless financial cuts imposed by the government on policing, our essential preventative public services and our criminal justice system have undoubtedly contributed to a rise in crime.
“That resulted in the loss of 2,221 police officers – 25 per cent of our police officers – 300 PCSOs and many hundreds of essential police staff. That was a big mistake, it was counter-productive and a false economy.
"We have all been paying the price, because it had a serious adverse impact on visibility, response times, the investigation of crime and the ability of West Midlands Police to prevent and tackle crime."
Mr Foster has entered the race to become Labour's candidate for the West Midlands Mayor, accusing the Conservatives of wanting to abolish the role because they "don't have the courage to face me at the ballot box".
He is standing against his victim's commissioner Nicky Brennan and former corporate account at PwC Richard Parker.
The PCC role was previously held by Bob Jones and David Jamieson.