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A report by HMICFRS, following an inspection in 2023, has graded West Mercia Police’s response to serious and organised crime as inadequate.

A downgrade from the previous ‘Good’ rating in 2018, this page outlines the work of PCC John Campion on Serious Organised Crime (SOC) over the last 5 years.

Activity to tackle SOC…

Serious organised crime strategy

In 2018, the PCC implemented the SOC Strategy which laid out his vision for tackling associated offences (such as drugs, child sexual abuse, cyber crime, serious violence).

Safer West Mercia Plan

SOC is a feature of the PCC’s Safer West Mercia Plan. It is specifically referenced under the PCC’s priority of ‘Building a more secure West Mercia’ –

Ensure a robust response to serious and organised crime to reduce the harm it causes in our communities.

There is also reference in areas such as Early Intervention and Prevention (Victims), Working in Partnership to Prevent Crime and Disorder and Reduce Crime (Reform), and the Community Charter (Reassure), amongst others.

In West Mercia (2018/23)

  • 2018 – Worked with partners through the Criminal Reduction Board to establish Serious Organised Crime Joint Advisory Groups (SOCJAGs) across West Mercia. The PCC’s policy team provided strategic governance at quarterly meetings.
  • 2018 – Supported West Mercia Police’s development of a SOC improvement plan. Following the launch of the plan, there was attendance at quarterly SOC improvement plan meetings. Issues flagged were raised in Assurance & Accountability sessions and Crime Reduction Board.
  • 2018/23 – 16 formal Assurance & Accountability meetings between the PCC and Chief Constable were held focusing on SOC and relevant crime types; child sexual exploitation, serious violence, robbery, homicide, violence against women and girls.
  • 2018/23 – Attended quarterly performance Organised Crime Group Mapping meetings and prepared briefings and reports with Regional Policy Officer for quarterly meetings with the force and PCC. There was a specific focus on County Lines and Organised Criminal Gangs.
  • 2018/23 – Attended and reviewed Force Quarterly Drugs meetings and its action plan. Issues flagged for Assurance & Accountability sessions.
  • 2019/20 – Supported the force to prepare and publish local SOC profiles. Funding to provide analytical support, with profiles shared with local Community Safety Partnerships (CSPs) and SOCJAGs.
  • 2021/22 – Identified a disconnect with SOCJAGs and CSPs . Introduced new arrangements which saw CSPs provide local governance for SOCJAGs with CSP Chairs reporting into the CRB on local performance and issues.
  • 2022/23 – Provided support and funding to the force in the preparation and publication of local drug market profiles.
  • 2022/23 – The PCC worked with a range of partners from across local government, health, police, probation, prisons, and integrated care boards to establish two Combating Drugs Partnerships.
  • 2022/23 – Neighbourhood Crime was adopted as priority through the CRB. Performance framework was put in place, and quarterly reviews took place.

Across West Midlands (2018/23)

  • 2018/23 – Development of a whole system response to SOC, one that engages and treats partners as equals across a 4P response, in line with the Government strategy.
  • Developing an understanding of SOC within the policing service that appreciates that an enforcement only led response will not lead to long term reductions in SOC.
  • Development of a Regional SOC Strategy (cognisant of the new national strategy).
  • Scrutiny of activity of the West Midlands Police County Lines Taskforce and its activity in or through West Mercia.
  • Regional APCC SOC portfolio lead introduced to hold to account the national SOC Chief Constable, government and National Crime Agency. All of this overseen by the Regional Governance Group.
  • 2023 – By sharing best practice and bringing this to West Mercia Police’s attention at Assurance & Accountability meetings and quarterly briefings, a tactic of Clear, Hold, Build has become an effective tactic.

  • Pre-2018 and ongoing – Funding provided to support victims of sexual exploitation, violence and child sexual exploitation through Branch, ISVA, and CLIMB.
  • Funding diversionary children and young people services around knife crime, including Steer Clear.
  • Funding provided for independent Modern Slavery Human Trafficking Advocate – commissioned to Victim Support currently – role developed to improve awareness of, improve responses to, and support communities and partners.
  • Providing support and funding for adult and children and young people Sexual Assault Referral Centres.
  • Providing support and funding for Victim Advice Line and Victim Support who support victims of SOC.
  • Providing funding and support for CLIMB, which diverts young people away from SOC.
  • Funding exploitation and vulnerability training to help professionals and organisations identify and support at risk people, including those at risk of SOC.
  • Supporting and funding Crimestoppers.
  • Funding and supporting DIVERT, a diversionary programme aimed at those in possession of drugs.
  • Providing funding for Safer Streets, Street Pastors and Taxi Marshalls.
  • Reviewing quarterly performance and implementing improvements when required.

  • Review the HMICFRS SOC report to determine areas for improvement and recommendations.
  • Continue to monitor and support West Mercia Police’s SOC improvement plan.
  • Review Combatting Drugs Partnership performance against the Outcome Framework.
  • Review Crime Reduction Board performance and governance to ensure SOC is prioritised and being addressed locally.
  • Review delivery of force’s Drug Strategy and performance.
  • Continue to attend quarterly Organised Crime Group Mapping and Tasking meetings.
  • Work with the force and partners to ensure SOC features in the next Police and Crime Plan and local Community Safety Partnership plans.
  • Continue to monitor and review Modern Slavery Human Trafficking, and child sexual exploitation.
  • Take SOC to a thematic Assurance & Accountability session with a detailed review of the HMICFRS findings, recommendations and any areas for improvement.