Friday 15 September
Dear Councillor Davies and Overton,
Thank you for your letter.
Police officer numbers are at the highest in West Mercia Police’s history. However, I share the view of the public in that these officers should be visible and accessible in the communities they serve.
Recognising that communities want more police officers, but also to feel the impact, I have continued to ensure that ever more resources are focused on frontline policing.
I have received reassurance from Chief Constable Pippa Mills that staffing levels in Telford & Wrekin are healthy and your communities will continue to see the positive impact as more police officers join West Mercia Police and complete their training.
Following the introduction of the enhanced Contact Resolution Centre in April 2023 there has been a 5.2% rise in crime detection rates. This has helped to not only bring more offenders to justice but reduce the amount of investigations allocated to frontline officers – enabling them to focus their time and efforts on communities across Telford & Wrekin.
Already in place are the Safer Neighbourhood Teams who cover Telford & Welkin. These teams have two inspectors and five sergeants who oversee fifteen areas with a team of police officers and PSCOs dedicated to each area. These officers are focused on ensuring there is a visible presence across all areas, 24/7.
To support work to build a safer West Mercia, and as set out in my budget for 2023/24, a first-of-a-kind Neighbourhood Crime Fighting Team that is focused on Telford & Wrekin will be launching in September.
The team is made up of ten police officers – one sergeant leading a team of constables – which will boost visibility and accessibility in the heart of communities tackling high-impact crimes such as anti-social behaviour, drugs, major thefts, and criminal damage. These teams, that are working in other areas of West Mercia, are already delivering positive outcomes for communities.
Community Safety Engagement Officers will also be introduced in September, seeing two additional officers focused on the development and promotion of activities to address community priorities and engage with under-represented groups. Officers are also focused on fully utilising platforms, such as Neighbourhood Matters, to ensure communities are aware of the work being done where they live.
The crime data shows there has been an increase in offences within the town centre, however total recorded crime is down across Telford & Wrekin by 11%, robbery down 24% and vehicle related thefts by 9%.
To combat crime, West Mercia Police has successfully used Problem Solving Plans to address key issues locally. In Southwater there was a 30% reduction in street robberies in the first quarter of the year. In Wellington, a plan was used to combat an increase in shoplifting with significant reductions being made.
However, I am under no illusion that this is job done. I will continue to use all the powers available to me to support and challenge the Chief Constable to ensure the public feel the benefits of my investment.
I also look forward to building on our strong relationship through the established Building Safer & Stronger Communities project, as well as helping to deliver more initiatives through Safer Streets 5 and the CCTV infrastructure.
West Mercia Police & Crime Commissioner