PCC John Campion has secured the backing of the Police and Crime Panel to boost local policing, with additional resources focused on making West Mercia safer.
The PCC’s 2023/4 budget proposals will see £14.3m more funding available for policing, delivering the priorities of communities across West Mercia.
The budget will see 40 additional officers recruited to increase West Mercia numbers to the highest on record, which will enable new community crime fighting teams (totalling 55 officers) to be established.
The budget also focuses more resources on tackling the causes of crime and harm in local communities with the funding of 10 Community Safety Engagement Officers, £2m for local crime reduction projects in partnerships with local councils, and £250k to improve road safety.
Other areas of focus include bringing more offenders to justice, preventing crime and ensuring the journey for victims is improved through the use of technology.
Despite the significant increase in resources that are being made available to West Mercia Police, the significant demand and inflationary pressures mean that the force will have to deliver efficiencies of £10.8m next year.
At a meeting on Friday 3 February, the Police and Crime Panel confirmed the PCC’s proposals to increase the precept 5.94%, or an extra 29p per week.
This will mean an average Band D household will pay £264.50 a year – the PCC has the fourth lowest increase in council tax from 2016 – 2022.
Police and Crime Commissioner John Campion: “As your voice in policing, I have listened and shaped West Mercia Police’s budget and other crime prevention funding around your priorities.
“I am extremely proud that, despite the financial challenges we are facing, police officer numbers will reach an establishment level high in West Mercia.
“It has been a hard decision to increase the council tax precept, but I am committed to ensuring every penny is spent wisely and you, the community, feel the maximum benefit of that investment as your police force continues to deliver on the matters that mean the most to you.”
Chief Constable Pippa Mills said: “We will always strive to deliver the best service we can with the budget available to us. The investment announced today will support us as we continue to focus resources in the areas that have the most positive impact on communities.
“Just as the force is not immune to the country’s financial pressures, I know homes are feeling it too, so I understand the public will, quite rightly, want to see how their money is spent. Difficult decisions will have to be made this year, but we know that visibility of officers is important, and I’m pleased that this year we will have more police officers than we have had in recorded West Mercia Police history, and we are investing more in neighbourhood policing.”