Shropshire Star

West Mercia Police chief committed to reform in wake of damning review into Met discrimination

The Chief Constable of West Mercia Police says the force is committed to cracking down on prejudices in its ranks in the wake of a damning review into the Met Police.

Chief Constable Pippa Mills in Shrewsbury

A report into culture and standards within the Metropolitan Police Service was released on Tuesday, detailing "appalling" examples of racism, misogyny and homophobia.

The damning Baroness Casey Review, which was commissioned by the Met after the abduction and murder of Sarah Everard by one of its officers, has now become a catalyst for overall police reform.

Chief Constable Pippa Mills has today issued an open letter to residents across Shropshire and the rest of West Mercia, outlying some of the measures that have already been taken to improve the force.

She said: "The appalling examples of discrimination in the Baroness Casey Review are beyond unacceptable and the review has also, understandably, become the catalyst for a drive for overall police reform.

"I want to reassure you of the action being taken by West Mercia Police, to ensure we are the best we can be for you, for victims and survivors and for our officers, staff and volunteers.

"We have been unapologetic in our mission to rooting out corruption, relentless in our approach to getting individuals out of our force that betray our core values; treating any misconduct related to racism, misogyny, and homophobia with the utmost severity."

Ms Mills said over the past 12 months a total of eight officers had either been sacked from the force or had resigned before they could be dismissed.

She said the force is strengthening its Anti-Corruption Unit and so this trend was likely to continue with no stone left unturned in the fight to rid the force of corruption.

Ms Mills said the force was focusing on improving its relationship of trust with members of the public, particularly amongst women and girls and black communities.

She said there is a determined and clear approach to tackling male perpetrated violence against women and girls, with specialist officers and an additional lawyer in place to help as cases progress to the courts.

"We have a strong gender balance here at West Mercia Police, particularly at senior levels and within our specialist units, and we are award-winning in our advocacy of diversity and inclusion," Pippa added.

"However, we are not complacent and are working to encourage greater recruitment and retention of underrepresented groups in the force.

"We’re achieving this by understanding disproportionality in reasons for leaving the organisation and addressing and removing barriers where they exist.

"We know our bonds with our Black communities are fragile, there’s a lot we need to do to rebuild those relationships, to address race disparities and to change a legacy of distrust.

"We are delivering against the national Police Race Action Plan and are working to encourage greater recruitment and retention of underrepresented groups in the force."

Ms Mills said the latest survey of the general public showed that 79 per cent of people surveyed in Shropshire had confidence in West Mercia Police.

And while acknowledging the drive for further improvements, she spoke of her pride in the "significant strides" taken forward in the last 18 months.

"We are striving to listen to our communities and there are ways that you can help us hear your views and challenge our actions," Pippa added.

"I encourage you to speak to your local policing teams, join our Independent Advisory Groups, sign up for local surveys and updates that help us focus and improve our work.

"Together, we can ensure a safer, stronger future for Herefordshire, Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin and Worcestershire."