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The West Mercia Police and Crime Commissioner has welcomed the Policing Minister’s Front Line Review, which echoes his own views.

The government are proposing a systematic approach to transformation and demand reduction, which looks at best practice, is led by the frontline and ensures officers can focus on fighting crime.

At a local level the Police and Crime Commissioner has committed to delivering these outcomes. He has already increased the police budget by £17 million (8.2%) since 2016, increased officer numbers by 215, and invested to improve technology, to ensure officers time can be used as effectively as possible. He has also continued his focus on officer welfare, though the Behind the Badge Campaign.

Commissioner John Campion said “The public want their police officers focused on fighting crime, and delivering the best possible service.

It is important that officers aren’t hampered by bureaucratic internal processes and ineffective technology or drawn away from core policing because of ineffectiveness of other services, such as mental health.

Reforming West Mercia Police remains a key part of what I want to deliver as Commissioner and there is still significant potential to deliver more effective, efficiently run services. This includes the ending of the alliance with Warwickshire Police. This arrangement has undoubtedly led to additional bureaucracy, and a reduction of clarity, autonomy and control for West Mercia.

Overall I am pleased that Government are listening to the frontline, addressing the right balance between meeting demands and supporting individuals, and I am committed to doing the same locally”

West Mercia Police Chief Constable, Anthony Bangham said: “The findings of the Front Line Review certainly echo the messages I hear from my own staff every day. This is a challenging time for policing due to the level and range of demand and I am extremely proud of my officers for their dedication and professionalism.

“We are working hard within the force to address the core issues around level of demand. The recruitment of 215 new officers, supported by the PCC, will be a significant step forward and we are well into that programme of recruitment and training – the latest 20 new recruits to the force had their Passing Out ceremony just last night.

“We are also working with partner agencies to ensure our work with them is efficient and effective, to improve our technology and simplify our ways of working, all of which can have a positive impact on the wellbeing of our workforce.

“I welcome that the Home Office now has this important insight from frontline policing, which reinforces what senior officers have been saying for some time and highlights the need for additional central support as we continue to address these issues locally.”

Issued: Wednesday 10th July 2019