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As the voice of the public in policing, more than 140 questions from the public were received by Police and Crime Commissioner John Campion to help inform his latest assurance and accountability session with Chief Constable Pippa Mills on police visibility and contact.

The session, which is now available to watch on the West Mercia PCC YouTube channel, covered a range of themes based on questions submitted by the public, including foot patrols, presence at police stations, investigating crime, interaction with police officers, admin duties carried out by officers and 101 response times.

Despite three fifths of respondents to the PCC’s latest perceptions survey satisfied with the levels of policing in their area, a majority of the questions sent in by the public focused on a feeling of insecurity due to not seeing or rarely seeing police officers patrolling their communities by foot.

Following the PCC’s investment to bring officer numbers to record levels in West Mercia, the PCC questioned the Chief Constable on why some residents are not yet feeling the benefit of this increase.

The Chief Constable shares the PCC’s commitment for officers to be visible and accessible in their communities they serve, citing new Neighbourhood Crime Fighting Teams as further progress to ensure officers are on patrol. Taking onboard the questions from residents, the Chief Constable acknowledged there’s still more that can be done to improve visibility.

Another section of the meeting focused on the service officers deliver when a resident reports a crime. Some correspondence from the public praised by officers for the level of support they offered while others said they feel let down, stating they were not getting the high-quality service they deserve and expect from the force.

The Chief Constable reassured the PCC that she is clear that officers should treat everyone they come into contact with fairly and respectfully, as well as ensuring they are following the correct steps to tackle crime. 

PCC John Campion said: “I would like to thank everyone who had their say by sending in a question on police visibility and contact as part of my latest public assurance and accountability session with the Chief Constable.

“The session was an opportunity to shine a light on concerns as well as the good work West Mercia Police is doing on two areas that I hear from residents about regularly.

“As your voice in policing, I will continue to put your voice at the heart of policing. I remain committed to supporting and challenging the Chief Constable on the issues that matter to you, ensuring you have a more visible and accessible police force and contact with West Mercia Police is to the level you expect and deserve.”

Following the public response to the latest assurance and accountability session, the PCC will be looking further into these concerns to form part of the wider work he is doing to build a Safer West Mercia, including addressing the recurrent themes in future Community Conversation events.