I understand police officers hold a special position in our society. There is a unique contract between officers and the public which relies on consent and trust.
I know the vast majority of police officers are extraordinary people who do a brilliant job to keep their communities safe, however it is clear the shocking actions of a minority of West Mercia Police officers covered in the news in recent weeks will have dented your confidence in the police.
As your voice in policing, I share your disappointment and anger, as we have the same high expectations of how those in policing must behave.
I am acting on this, I am fully supporting the Government’s move to re-vet serving police officers by ensuring Chief Constable Pippa Mills has the resources and tools to root out those who fall below the standards expected. Sadly, this process will no doubt bring to the surface more individuals who are unfit to serve.
I want to reassure you that West Mercia Police already has high standards of vetting for new recruits, robust processes, and a low-risk appetite with an independent report in November referencing instances of ‘over-vetting’ in some cases to ensure all possible checks, above and beyond the usual amount are made.
Earlier this year, I also received assurance from the Chief Constable about West Mercia Police’s proactive work to identify officers who shouldn’t be in the force and its continued efforts to tackle this issue.
It is a good sign that the majority of reports on officer misconduct are coming from within West Mercia Police, and I want to see this culture becoming even stronger with police officers and the public empowered to come forward to call out inappropriate behaviour when they see it.
To ensure progress continues to be made, I will use all the powers available to me to support and hold the Chief Constable to account, delivering on my commitment to reform West Mercia Police.
If you have any concerns about a serving or former West Mercia Police officer, please visit West Mercia Police’s website, call 101 or go to your local police station. You can also report anonymously via CrimeStoppers – www.crimestoppers-uk.org.