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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.

Police and Crime Commissioner John Campion has shared his disappointment in the findings.

In response, West Mercia Police has created an improvement plan setting out how it will deliver on the report’s recommendations.

PCC John Campion said: “Organised crime groups operating across West Mercia routinely target the most vulnerable people in our society. The impact of this crime is devastating and is felt not only by victims, but also entire communities.

“Whilst the rating is not reflective of the brilliant work officers are doing day-in-day-out pursuing criminals, more needs to be done by building stronger partnerships to prevent serious organised crime from happening in the first place.

“I am clear, the verdict of the HMICFRS report into West Mercia Police’s response to address this crime is deeply disappointing and not what I or the public expect.”

Since the last inspection six years’ ago, the PCC has raised the force’s performance in relation to serious and organised crimes in 16 formal assurance and accountability sessions with three Chief Constables.

Over that period, the PCC has also provided significant funding to West Mercia Police to disrupt criminality and carry out targeted operations.

This work has been coupled with investment into specialist services to put victims first and interventions to help steer young people away from crime.

The PCC added: “Eleven months on from the HMICFRS inspection, I am reassured that West Mercia Police has been making significant progress including the creation of an improvement plan.

“Whilst its clear action needs to be taken to address the concerns raised in the report, the extended period of time it takes to publish the report does mean the situation has moved on and no longer represents where the force is now.

“I welcome the plan set out by the Chief Constable. However, I have been very clear that progress to deliver change will be a focus of regular and intense scrutiny, as I expect the force to continue delivering improvements to its response to serious and organised crime.”