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Focusing on the public’s policing priorities, PCC John Campion held a formal meeting with West Mercia Police’s Temporary Chief Constable (T/CC), Alex Murray on key performance metrics.  

Committed to ensuring local communities have confidence in West Mercia Police, the PCC raised inconsistencies in confidence levels across the three counties.

To increase confidence levels across West Mercia, the force outlined its plans to introduce policing teams in crime hotspots to boost visible and accessible policing where crime levels are higher and tackle anti-social behaviour.

The performance of the 101 non-emergency line has continued to be scrutinised by the PCC. With 54% of calls being answered in 30 seconds, falling 6% short of the force’s target. While the PCC recognises the improvements that have been made in this area with longer term plans for sustainable improvement, the PCC sought reassurance on the longer-term plans to deliver greater efficiencies.

The meeting also focused on the force’s work to disrupt Serious Organised Crime (SOC). It was advised by the PCC that more that needs to be done to increase the number and diversity of disruptions.

Whilst victim satisfaction rates have been high across many crime type, rates for victims of violent crime have continued to fall over the past six months. The force outlined that extensive analysis has been conducted to establish the reason behind this, with violent crime investigations typically taking longer to conclude. More work continues to take place to understand the drivers behind this decline in victim satisfaction.

Within other areas of performance raised by the force, it was advised that there has been a significant reduction in the backlog of cases being managed by the Online Child Sexual Exploitation Team, supported by the PCC’s longstanding investment in digital forensics.

Considering the views of those with lived experience to help guide conversation, the PCC requested an update on progress against all recommendations within the HMICFRS report into the effectiveness of the police and law enforcement bodies to respond to group-based child sexual exploitation (CSE).

The PCC raised concerns from victims and survivors on the force’s use of CSE and modern slavery human trafficking markers and a formal action was taken for the T/CC to provide a substantive update on this matter outside of the meeting to ensure they are being applied appropriately.

PCC John Campion said: “As the voice of the public in policing, a key part of my role is to support and challenge the Chief Constable to ensure the police is delivering for communities across West Mercia.

“While it’s reassuring that crime is falling across the three counties, it’s important that all victims receive a service they expect and deserve. It’s clear that more needs to be done, and quickly, to improve 101 performance, increase confidence across West Mercia, and ensure long-lasting measures are in place to clamp down on serious organised crime and group-based child sexual exploitation.”