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Police and Crime Commissioner Statement (Published September 2023)

The Elected Local Policing Bodies (Specified Information) (Amendment) Order 2021 provides that PCCs must publish a narrative setting out:

  • a statement on the contribution of the police force maintained by the elected local policing body to achieving improvements against those priorities;
  • an explanation of which of the national priorities are assessed to be applicable and which not applicable in the context of the relevant police area and the reasons for that assessment.

All the national policing priorities are assessed to be applicable as they align to the Police and Crime Commissioner’s (PCC) Safer West Mercia Plan and West Mercia Police’s Control Strategy.

Set out below is the PCC’s statement on the contribution of West Mercia Police to achieving improvements against the national priorities for policing. 

National Policing priorities

Priority area: Reduce murder and other homicide

National Metrics (data source)

Homicides (Police recorded data)


Q1 2023 -24 had the lowest number of homicides (1) compared to any recent

In the first 6 months of 2023, only 3 homicides were recorded, none of which
required significant investigative resources.

At the end of June 2023, the rolling 12-month total for homicide recording in West
Mercia is 16. This has reduced significantly from a rolling 12-month peak of 24 in
October 2022.

West Mercia is not an outlier as the early warning system has not been met
(DCPP) and has the 8th highest rate of homicide for the two years up to April 2023.

Reflections on force performance

New arrangements and guidance for the recording of possible homicides is
starting to have a positive impact. Successful applications for no crime
classifications where sufficient additional verifiable evidence is available, is also
reducing the number of recorded offences.

The 20 homicides reported for 2022/23 has now been reduced to 19 because of
this activity, and another offence was removed in June 2023.

The pattern of West Mercia homicides does not show any patterns of significance
in line with National trends, and reduction in homicide numbers is also reflected


Work to scope prevention opportunities within the list of people who may be at
heightened risk of homicide, through more effective data sharing with health
partners is being developed by the Head of Prevention.

A process to start rapid reviews of homicides to identify quick time learning and
information sharing opportunities is to be delivered by the Major Crime Review

The feasibility of a thesis assessing the effectiveness of preventative approaches
within the highest risk victim cohort is under consideration by the Head of the MIU
through Cambridge University, which would take place in 2024.

Priority area: Reduce serious violence

National Metrics (data source)

1.Hospital admissions for assault with a sharp object (NHS)

2.Offences involving discharge of a firearm (Police recorded)

3.Knife Crime Offences (Police recorded)

4.Violence with Injury (Police recorded)

5. Domestic Abuse (Police recorded)


“Crimes that involve knives or guns – can have life-changing consequences for those
(Beating Crime Plan, 2021)

Violence with injury offences have seen a slight decrease across the force, with a 3%
decrease in volume for Q1 of 23/24. In the same period, Violence without injury has
dropped by 16%. However, draft Serious Violence Strategic Needs Assessments for each
CSP area across the force have examined the period 1st October 2019 – 30th September
2022 and show an increase of recorded serious violence offences across the force area.

Recorded knife crime within West Mercia remains low, with total offences involving a
knife 2022/23 at 1,209, which is a 7% (n = 76) decrease from 2021/22. In relation to NHS
data for sharps admissions, a 43% increase equates to an increase of 15 incidents. This is
the difference between the baseline recorded in 2019 with 35 offences and 50 offences
for the last 12 months (up to February 2022) for West Mercia. As a result, Prevention Hub
are continuing to trial focussed deterrence and hot spot policing; both are evidence-based
tactics in reducing knife crime.

Over the three years 2019 – 2022, domestic abuse offences make up a significant
proportion of recorded serious violence offences. This ranges across each LPA and up to
53% of violent offences in North Worcestershire. The issuing of Domestic Violence
Protection Notices and Orders are at the highest that they have been for two years;
during July 2023, 15 Domestic Violence Protection Notices were issued and 15 DVPOs
granted. This is highly likely to be driven by the significant effort to increase use, including
additional training for Superintendents, Inspectors and VAWG Officers and promotion of
the ‘Manchester Model’ of using DVPN and bail concurrently. Within the last two years
West Mercia has escalated 88% of DVPNs to DVPOs.

In relation to civil orders to reduce serious violence, in the last quarter the force has
issued 28 Sexual Harm Prevention Orders, with 8 being granted in Telford & Wrekin, and
22 breaches recorded. 3 Sexual Risk Orders were issued, with 2 granted in South
Worcestershire and 1 in North Worcestershire. 6 full Stalking Prevention Orders were
issued, 4 interim Stalking Prevention Orders issued and 6 Stalking Prevention Orders
breaches were recorded.


Through the implementation of the Serious Violence Duty, the multi-agency data
collection plan continues to progress, notably with a multi-agency event led by
Crest advisory in July. The partnership has agreed funding for a dedicated Serious
Violence Duty Analyst, and a workshop for analysts from all specified authorities
will take place on 29th August. This will feed into improved Strategic Needs
Assessments and a Serious Violence Strategy for each policing area in line with the

Diversionary referrals for violent offences remain low across the force. A
dedicated Pathways team has been formed, which over the next quarter will
continue to improve awareness of diversionary pathways and work with
investigating officers and custody suites to increase the number of referrals.

The force is exploring the use of knife amnesty bins across West Mercia to provide
opportunities for individuals to safely dispose of knives in high-harm areas.

Working closely with OPCC and community safety partners, Safer Streets 5
proposals are being drawn up. This will include a range of measures to prevent
violence against women and girls in public places, including increased CCTV,
increased up-stander interventions, and work within the night-time economy.

Priority area: Disrupt drugs supply and county lines

National Metrics (data source)

OCG disruptions (Police recorded)


A summary of quarterly performance:

  • Q1 23/24, West Mercia Police had 26 Active organised crime groups (OCG)
  • 55% of our active OCG are criminally active in drug supply.
  • Q1 23/24 saw 69 OCG Disruptions – a slight reduction from Q4 by 8 but still a
    substantial number and 2nd highest number of moderated disruptions recorded by
    West Mercia.

County Lines team activity in Q1 resulted in:

  • Tier 1 line closures – 4; Reviewed closures – 9; 50 arrests; 20 people charged; 5
    vehicles seized; 77 devices seized; 4 NRM referrals; 13 weapons seized; 8 people
    safeguarded; £97 cash seized
  • £163k total street value of drugs seized, £132k of which was cocaine and crack

Reflections on force performance:

The performance data shows continued positive performance in breaking supply chains and rolling up the CL model. The DCI with senior tactical responsibility for county lines attended the two Combatting Drug Partnership Boards to advise of the force’s approach. Work was also agreed to enhance shared use of data and to undertake specific multi-agency activity around the next County Lines intensification week.

Op Mille – Operational intensification in June 2023 targeting Western Balkans drug supply.
Target set for 22 warrants to be executed by West Mercia before the end of June 22.
West Mercia achieved 29 warrants.

A National Drug Alert notification was issued on 3 July 2023 regarding heroin. The Taliban
have banned the growing of opium poppies in Afghanistan, with this year’s harvest
thought to have been reduced by ~80%. With 95% of European heroin supply coming
from Afghanistan, this level of reduction is likely to see a major impact to the UK heroin market. UNODC(United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime) are estimating that current stockpiles will last 12 and 18 months,
followed by a potential shortage of heroin if the poppy ban remains in place. There may
be signs that the impact of the ban is already being felt. The wholesale price of heroin has
doubled in the last six months and there is emerging intelligence suggesting the purity
level of UK heroin is declining.


NLCC will be running the next CL intensification week from 9th-15th October.

HMICFRS – initial feedback addressing a number of elements to include 4P Plans and all
will be part of a new SOC improvement plan led by Ch Supt Crowther – first meeting 23rd

New Drugs Testing on Arrest Coordinator has been recruited to drive performance around
both trigger and non-trigger offences, thereby increasing diversionary outcomes.

£100,000 has been awarded for County Lines teams to be utilised. Details of allocation
and usage to be planned and confirmed.

Priority area: Reduce neighbourhood crime

National Metrics (data source) Burglary, robbery, vehicle thefts and theft from a person (Police Recorded Data)


Theft from the person (TFP)

Reflections on force performance

In the performance year 23/24, from April to July the force recorded a total of 148 TFP
offences. During the same period in 2022, there were 178 offences recorded. In terms of
proportion of total recorded crime, TFP equates to 0.47%. All Local Policing Areas (LPAs)
are seeing a reduction, with the most significant being in South Worcester. As with
previous years, most offending takes place in town centres where there is a crowding of
people and offenders have the opportunity to identify victims without being noticed


Because TFP is an opportunistic crime, focus remains on prevention advice in town
centres. LPAs have deployment plans and will utilise neighbourhood crime fighting teams
to engage with the public and offer crime prevention advice. In line with last year,
because a TFP can become a robbery with a small application of force, far more emphasis
is placed on those offences and supporting victims/bringing offenders to justice. Local
investigation teams do review offences for similarities to identify offenders that cross
over between TFP and robbery crimes.


Reflections on force performance

LPAs are continually seeking to maximise positive outcomes in respect of robbery
offences. All robbery offences are subject of investigative oversight whether through CID
ownership of investigations or detective supervision review and direction to patrol teams.
Offending levels for robbery offences across the force have remained stable. South
Worcestershire and Telford have seen small reductions in offending, year to date, with
North Worcestershire, Herefordshire and Shropshire seeing increases. However, these
reductions all in single figures so do not show any notable change in offending levels. Our
‘most similar groups’ (MSG) have seen on average a 10% reduction in offending.

Trends have indicated that whilst force is used, serious violence is rare and the use of
weapons within the force area to commit robberies even more so. A high proportion of
robberies are often amongst younger people; peer on peer for items such as mobile
phones or bicycles.


The force contributed to Operation Calibre, a week-long national operation targeting
robbery offenders, offence hotspots and community engagement opportunities to
provide crime prevention advice. Operation Calibre will run again in Autumn 2023 in
which West Mercia will again actively participate. In addition, the force ran a week-long
operation, Operation Justice in which suspects outstanding for a variety of crime types
were targeted for arrest and processing. In total 9 robbery suspects were arrested during
this operation. This operation will be repeated at regular intervals. Neighbourhood Crime
Fighting Teams (NCFTs) will also be utilised to target specific individuals impacting on local

A newly introduced “street crime booklet” for operational front-line officers provides
investigative advice and guidance to maximise early evidential opportunities which
ultimately provides the best opportunities for a successful prosecution. This booklet will
be further developed and embedded with officers.

Education is key and youth engagement officers are therefore regularly ensuring that as
part of their ongoing engagement activities, young people are encouraged to report if
they have been a victim of such an offence with a view to intervening early with the
alleged perpetrators to prevent further offences.

Burglary (Residential)

Reflections on force performance

There has been a reduction in overall business and community burglaries across all LPAs
in Q1 compared to Q4 last year. This is a positive trend when it is considered that Q4 also
saw a decrease on Q3 demonstrating a consistent fall in volume. Burglaries of this type
are reviewed by a DS to ensure appropriate investigative opportunities are met and
tasked out across all LPAs. This includes conducting a forensic assessment to assist the CSI tasking process and maximise detection opportunities. Offences will be managed by local investigation officers. This method has been used the longest by Shropshire who are
showing a 24% reduction and a 15.9% detection rate. A trial period of enhanced CSI
provision is to commence with a view to establishing if it serves to positively improve
evidential forensic retrieval.


It is intended that a continued emphasis on the use of DOCO and Rural Crime officers to
focus on the good use of preventative measures and advice will further reduce this crime
type. The targeted use of problem solving and Safer Neighbourhood teams to work in
partnership with local business organisations to maximise the target audience is also a
key preventative approach. Specific operations using NCFT resources will expand,
enabling targeted patrols such as Op Aegius (at Telford) to focus on building site
burglaries in conjunction with bespoke problem-solving plans.

There is also an increasing use of proactive telecoms and ANPR data to identify offenders
and patterns of offending to allow for a targeted approach to identifying and arresting

Closer working arrangements are also being conducted with partners such as Cranston
and probation to reduce offending by actively utilising rehabilitation pathways, and for
probation to explore enforceable options via the courts. This initiative is targeted toward
the offender committing often smaller scale burglaries to fund an addiction.

Vehicle Crime

Reflections on force performance

The latest figures (to 05/08/2023) show vehicle crime down by two percent across the
force YTD This is a variable picture with all LPAs having seen a reduction except for North
Worcestershire which has a 19% increase (additional 89 offences).

North Worcestershire traditionally has a higher vehicle crime rate compared with the rest
of the force. This is in part due to its geographical location, bordering West Midlands. Due
to this proximity organised Gangs migrate West and South of the border to commit crime
in West Mercia. Initially it was believed that these gangs were responsible solely for Car
Key Burglaries (CKBs), however, recent enquiries have revealed that the same groups are
responsible for keyless thefts of motor vehicles. It is suspected that this shift in
methodology is due to less of a sentence at court if convicted (less likely to have to use
force or violence so a reduced sentence).

The LPA has a blend of vehicle offending types such as CKB and keyless thefts but also
vehicle interference and theft from MV (TFMV). These other offences (vehicle
interference and TFMV) are spread equitably across the 3 districts (Wyre Forest,
Bromsgrove and Redditch) with local offenders rather than OCG related, from the West
Midlands area.


The LPA has a dedicated team – OP Innovate, an overarching operation for residential
burglaries, focussing on CKBs in North Worcestershire.

The operation commenced in April 2023 where the following was set up:

  • Implementation of the North Worcestershire burglary team with associated
    vehicle crime.
  • OP Innovate guidance distributed amongst LPA officers containing expected
    minimum standards of investigation and SOCO advice, following liaison with CSI
  • OP Innovate work very closely with the priorities/proactive team, a dedicated
    proactive resource whose primary remit is CKB and keyless vehicle thefts. The
    close working enables intelligence to be shared across teams and importantly
    across the region. OP Handle is the overarching operation for Car Key Burglaries
    and keyless theft of motor vehicles.
  • Regular cross boarder / force meetings from practitioner level to DCI level to share
  • A recent example of investigative success for a TFMV series identified in Wyre
    Forest last week saw a male arrested and interviewed for 11 separate offences. Whilst bailed for further enquiries, the LPA is reviewing other potential offences that the suspect will be interviewed for on answering bail. The case is strong and likely to result in 7-10 charges.
  • Regular preventative comms messages are disseminated through social media.
  • OP Enzyme – continued operation targeting CKB and keyless theft of MVs. Funding
    recently secured to extend the operation and tactical response. The operation is
    being broadened to encompass a digital forensic strategy and wider prevention
  • Safer Streets 5 bid is in development. This is intended to secure HO funding in
    furtherance of investigation / prosecution and importantly prevention of burglary
    across the force. This will have a direct impact upon CKB.

In Shropshire there is no discernible pattern at present but ongoing prevention activity
using NCFT resources includes Shrewsbury Town Centre patrols, with officers focussing on
disruptive measures and offering advice to those vulnerable of falling victim to this type
of crime (leaving valuables on display for example).

In Telford there has been success with arrests and prosecutions of the Dart OCG and with
a key IOM (Integrated Offender Management) nominal, which has seen a notable increase
in the detection rate.

Looking forward, as is already in place in Shropshire and South Worcestershire, the
NHCFTs will also contribute actively across all LPAs once up and running.

Priority area: Improve victim satisfaction with a focus on victims of domestic abuse

National Metrics (data source)

Satisfaction with the police among victims of domestic abuse (Police Recorded Data)

Victim satisfaction with the police (Police Recorded Data)


Reflections on force performance:

  • YTD (Apr-June 23) Satisfaction Completely, Very and Fairly Satisfied, showed
    78% of satisfied victims of domestic abuse, against a target of 80%.
  • Very or completely dissatisfied respondents are referred to the LPA for service
  • Victim satisfaction surveys are under review to ensure they provide the Force
    with actionable insight.
  • DVPNs and DVPOs have significantly increased to the highest recording in 2
    years. This is highly likely to be driven by the significant effort to apply these
    where relevant.
  • Work is underway to understand how civil orders impact on DA Victim
  • DA Response Times: considerable targeted activity has taken place to bridge
    the gap between response times for DA incidents when compared against all
    other incidents.
  • The VAWG Action Plan, which includes specific victim focus, has been
    redesigned to ensure activity is focussed and better able to track progress. The
    plan has received positive HMICFRS feedback within this quarter.
  • The VAWG IAG TOR is now agreed and being implemented. Recruitment of
    membership has started with application & vetting forms sent out. With three
    individuals confirmed, with the support of the DEI department, an advert
    seeking additional volunteers has been produced.
  • The first West Mercia Harmful Cultural Practices (HCP) procedure was
    launched to coincide with the National Day of Remembrance in July for all
    victims of honour killings. WMP has also provided SIO resilience for Operation
    Limelight this summer – a West Midlands led regional operation in to tackling /
    identifying HCP at Birmingham Airport, covering in / out bound flights from
    hub countries.


  • Procedural justice remains key to improving victim experience and following a
    pilot, a new L&D package is being developed.
  • RASSO DS’ – Recruitment of two RASSO gatekeepers North and South of the
    Force with five dedicated RASSO DS’s each LPA – Investigation Quality.
    Preferred candidates identified. HR / Vetting processes on-going.
  • Initial conversations have commenced and will continue with Women’s Aid re
    support for victims of Police Perpetrated Abuse, who are open to provide a
    service and act as a single point of contact to the force. In addition, Women’s
    Aid are also exploring Court IDVA’s within DA courts, as nationally an increase
    in victim satisfaction can be seen when in place.
  • Continued focus on developing datasets (including TOEX, SP&I and scoping a
    product free until 2025 with Norfolk) to inform tasking.
  • Work continues to support the aim of introducing a WMP perpetrator register,
    in line with national good practice.
  • Training between CPS and Police focussing on RASSO Early Investigative Advice
    to increase CPS submissions.
  • Supporting the wider rollout of the Perpetrator Intervention Programme,
    which is well embedded in the south of the Force. This follows a successful commissioning led by Cranstoun, which will see the same level of service within West Mercia and extends to all risk levels.
  • DARA – Replacing DASH – Anticipated start date September 23. DASH RA will not be obsolete and will still be used by partners and specialist victim services. Used by frontline officers, the (18) DARA question set are specifically designed to identify coercive control and S&H with a greater emphasis on professional judgement, whilst being victim trauma informed. Final testing within Athena is in hand, alongside comprehensive communications plan in place to complement recent training delivered to staff.
Priority area: Tackle cyber crime

National Metrics (Data Source)

Action Fraud referrals (Police Recorded Data)


  • 52 referrals were made by action fraud to West Mercia Police over the threemonth reporting period.
  • 39 victims of cybercrime have been given Cyber PROTECT advice (to date) over the
    reporting period.
  • 36 minor disruptions have been recorded (to date) over the reporting period.
  • 100% of victims who were referred from action fraud will be spoken to either in
    person or on the phone and provided with prevention advice.
  • 100% of action fraud referrals will be investigated.

Reflections on force performance:

The force has maintained a strong position in respect of protective and preventative
work in Q1.

  • OP Raider – An investigation alongside the Federation Against Copyright Theft into
    a male suspected of copyright offences who has now been convicted and is
    awaiting sentence. FACT gave awards to four members of the FCCU for the work
    and assistance they provided.
  • 3P staff attendance at various events including the Cosford Air Show, WI Meetings,
    University Events, Retain Expo and other events at the NEC.
  • The Online Safety Conference which took place in June at HQ was attended by
    approximately 300 professionals (online and in person) who received inputs from
    the FCCU, ECU and OCSET.
  • The implementation of a service level agreement in relation to Suspicious Activity
    Reports (SARS) which are now triaged and reviewed by the FCCU if they are
    cryptocurrency related. Three members of FCCU staff are now registered with the
    NCA as “SARS Researchers” after completing a training package.


  • The implementation of the West Mercia Police Cryptocurrency Investigation
    Standard Operating Procedure – this will guide the workforce on how to deal with
    cryptocurrency related offending.
  • The development of an “on scene” cryptocurrency SOP currently being created by
    the FCCU with inputs from key stakeholders including DFU and the NPCC.

This statement will be reviewed and any variations published in line with the timescales set
out in the Statutory Information Order