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Quarter 3 performance – 2023/24

Date: 26th February

Chair: John Campion


  • John Campion – Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC)
  • Natasha Noorbakhsh – Senior Policy Officer (NN)
  • Nicola Lowery – Policy Officer (NL)
  • Alex Murry – T/Chief Constable (T/CC)
  • Richard Cooper – T/Deputy Chief Constable (T/DCC)

1. Review of Action Tracker

Actions were reviewed and progressed as per the action tracker. New timescales were agreed for outstanding actions and several actions were closed.

2.Chief Constable Assessment on Quarterly Performance

Safer West Mercia Plan and Budget Priorities

The T/CC gave an overview of the Q3 23/24 (October – December 2023) Quarterly Performance Report as set out below. The PCC asked that the T/CC’s presentation focus on the following local priorities:

Public confidence

Public confidence in West Mercia currently sits at 82% which is below the force’s target of 88%. Confidence levels vary across the force area, from 83% in South Worcestershire to 79% in Shropshire. The PCC sought reassurance around the forces aspirations to improve levels of confidence and queried whether the variance is linked to an inconsistency in service received by the public.

The T/CC talked through the force’s work to improve public confidence including their use of hot spot policing to target high crime areas and their efforts to tackle anti-social behaviour (ASB). It is intended that this increased visibility will improve confidence particularly within areas where there are higher volumes of crime. The T/CC was content that the force provides a consistent service across all local policing areas in West Mercia, but acknowledged each area faced their unique challenges. The focus remains on reducing crime and improving detection rates

Non- emergency contact performance

The PCC raised concerns regarding 101 call handling performance with the current 101 target to answer 60% of calls within 30 seconds. He questioned whether this reflects the force’s aspiration for service provided to the public and if this should be reviewed with the introduction of the force’s switch board to further improve efficiencies.

The T/CC acknowledged the aspiration for improvement and was content that progress was being made. An update was provided on the changes to the digital desk and the recruitment approach taken to ensure a consistent level of service to the public.

Serious organised crime (SOC) disruptions

The T/CC talked through the force’s approach to SOC and highlighted the increase year-to-date in the number of disruptions. However, the PCC raised concerns regarding the decline in disruptions in the most recent quarter and the lack of activity across all 4P’s (Pursue, Protect, Prepare and Prevent). Around 95% of all recorded activity is focused on ‘pursue’.

The T/DCC shared the concern with the proportion of disruption activity focused only on pursue and concluded that the force may be missing out on opportunities to record their prevent activity. The PCC offered support through his office to quality assure any strategic action plans / documents to address concerns.

The PCC also sought reassurance that prevent disruptions also considered indications of child sexual exploitation (CSE) to ensure the force utilise opportunities for early intervention. The T/CC recognised that organised criminality will inevitably have a degree of crossover with CSE depending on the profile / model of offending and confirmed that disruptions currently consider CSE.

Violent Crime Satisfaction

The T/CC talked through the declining rate of victim satisfaction for violent crime over the last 6 months. The PCC drew attention to the statistically significant reductions seen since April 22 in South Worcestershire and Herefordshire policing areas. Despite significant analysis it remains unclear why satisfaction has declined. The T/DCC concluded that he remains dissatisfied with the lack of conclusion, but is satisfied the force is exhausting all the possible avenues to understand current performance.

Any other performance areas as determined by the Chief Constable

Online Child Sexual Exploitation Team (OCSET)

The T/CC provided an update on activity to improve performance issues related to the volume of case backlogs within the Online Child Sexual Exploitation Team (OCSET). It appears that this is particularly driven by delays in digital forensics, with a smaller proportion of delays due to timeliness of CPS charging decisions.

It was noted that the PCC has invested significantly in digital forensics during both of his terms as PCC.

Crime volumes and action taken

The T/CC highlighted the 7% reduction in total recorded crime, 7% reduction in violence with injury offences and a 5% reduction in vehicle crime year to date. An overview was provided on detection levels for varying crime types.

The PCC sought assurance that the appropriate resource was in place.

3.National priorities

The PCC commissioned a report on performance against the national policing priorities. This was submitted by the CC prior to the meeting and had been reviewed by all attendees. The CC was asked to draw out key areas from the report, as summarised below.

The PCC welcomed the additional information provided by the force to meet the PCC’s Statutory duty to publish detail of force activity in relation to the priorities.


The PCC welcomed the reduction in the current 12 month rolling homicide total. However, questioned why West Mercia still remain 8th highest in the country for homicide rates. The T/CC confirmed that he believed that this will be addressed with the more effective collection of evidence and changes made in how homicides are recorded.

Serious violence

The T/CC talked through the 7% decrease in violence with injury offences and a 15% decrease in violence without injury offences when compared with Q3 of 22/23. However, recognised that the 14% increase in overall volume of NHS Sharps injury admissions remains concerning.

The PCC highlighted that West Mercia are lowest in the region for serious violence offences involving a firearm, but third highest in their most similar group (MSG) and questioned if this was an area of concern for the force. The T/CC provided reassurance that violence involving a firearm is incredibly rare in West Mercia and that this statistic also records imitation firearms.

The force is looking to implement hotspot policing and focussed deterrence tactics in the next quarter which they hope has a significant impact on preventing serious violence. NN queried how PCC commissioned services have been considered when developing the focussed deterrent tactic. It was advised that they have and continue to be utilised as an intervention.

Action: EH to engage with OPCC Commissioning team and provide assurance that the focussed deterrence work within serious violence takes into account existing commissioned services and/or help identify any gaps.

Drugs and County lines

The T/CC provided an update on the number of active organised crime groups (OCGs) and the drugs seized within these operations. The T/CC emphasized that the focus is on combatting county lines that cause the most harm in our communities.

The PCC sought clarity on the planned force activity in relation to Clear, Hold, Build (CHB) which provides a framework for bringing serious and organised crime group threats into neighbourhood policing and the progress being made.

The T/DCC emphasised that CHB and operational teams are managed by different officers which is why it is not referenced within the briefing but may feature within future reports.

Neighbourhood crime

The PCC acknowledged the 33% reduction in theft from person (TFP) offences when compared to the same period last year and commended the force’s work. However, the PCC scrutinised action taken for vehicle crime as the force are performing below their target. The T/CC emphasized the increase in detection rates for robbery, burglary but that improvements are required in the detection of vehicle crime.

The PCC raised concerns around the disparity in recorded crime levels across the local policing areas for neighbourhood crime and asked if there were opportunities for the Community Safety Partnerships (CSPs) to embolden their work and engagement with partners. The T/CC emphasized the work CSPs do to inform neighbourhood crime but acknowledged that in some areas the impact of CSPs has reduced and needed to become more meaningful.


The T/CC talked through the quarterly data drawing particular focus to 100% of all Action Fraud referrals being investigated and the proactive pursue work that is taking place. This was also acknowledged by the PCC.

Quarterly HMICFRS Updates

The PCC commissioned a report on force activity in response to the HMICFRS National inspection on the effectiveness of the police and law enforcement bodies’ response to group-based child sexual exploitation. This was submitted by the CC prior to the meeting and had been reviewed by all attendees. The CC was asked to draw out key areas from the report against each recommendation, as summarised below.

Recommendation 2:

The T/DCC said he was satisfied with the work undertaken on the problem profiles for child sexual exploitation and that they provide a comprehensive understanding of risk. It was acknowledged that response to the Independent Inquiry has resulted in a comprehensive understanding of threat, harm and risk in Telford and the challenge will be on ensuring this level of understanding can be applied to all local policing areas in West Mercia where problem profiles are being developed.  Reassurance was given that overall, the force will be more advanced in this regard because of the work undertaken in Telford in response to the CSE inquiry.

The PCC requested an assessment of the quality of the analytical work. The T/DCC confirmed that the Telford Joint CSE Review Group product was insightful but on balance questioned the qualitative intelligence setting out the risk of particular groups, particularly group based predatory CSE. Reassurance was provided that the force is taking the appropriate steps to identify threats.

Recommendation 4

The T/DCC confirmed that the force has made significant progress on the utilisation and application of the CSE marker system and that crimes are being appropriately marked where there is risk of CSE.  However, the T/DCC expressed concern that he is not confident that nominals are being recorded effectively.

The PCC drew attention to the application of modern slavery human trafficking (MSHT) markers, following concerns raised through the force’s recommendations review as part of the Independent Inquiry Telford Child Sexual Exploitation, to ensure that any victims of CSE who are being trafficked are also identified as victims of MSHT with the appropriate NRM referrals and support put in place. The T/CC confirmed that each case must be assessed individually for risk of human trafficking. Automatic application of the MSHT marker to all cases with CSE markers could have a dangerous effect given the broader definition of human trafficking.

In response NN sought clarity on the local guidance in place for correctly applying CSE and MSHT markers and assurance that markers are being applied appropriately to identify victims of CSE and MSHT.

Action: OPCC to share consultee feedback on use of CSE and MSHT markers with the force

Action: Force to provide:

1 . Clarity on local/national guidance to ensure consistent application of CSE and/or MSHT marker

2.Assurance that CE/MSHT markers are used appropriately to safeguard victims and support force understanding

Recommendation 8

The T/DCC confirmed that professional development is being driven by IITCSE activity.

Recommendation 9

The T/DCC confirmed that the force has undertaken a significant amount of audit activity with there being no evidence to suggest that victim blaming language is being used within the force.

The PCC scrutinised this further and asked for reassurance that any victim blaming language is being proactively sought out and requested a copy of the victim blaming audit once finalised. The T/DCC acknowledged that regretfully only a handful of years ago inappropriate language would have been used which was not acceptable. However, he is now confident that there has been a significant cultural change in attitude and would be surprised if such language was being used.  Reference was also made to the CSE specific training that assisted in this change.

Action: The force to share the victim blaming audit when finalised.

Area for improvement (AFI)

The T/DCC confirmed that in response to the AFI the force proactively takes part in initiatives relating to CSE and is largely assured by the amount of preventative work taking place where there is an identified threat.

The PCC welcomed this assurance but sought further clarity on how all patterns of the behaviour are being recognised by the force and of the force’s utilisation of the Home Office disruption toolkit. The T/DCC confirmed that the force is undertaking innovative work to enable them to pick up trends including through their engagement with lived experience consultees. In relation to the disruption toolkit the T/DCC was unsure if this is being utilised locally.

The PCC sought reassurance around the availability of prevention and early intervention services and that when gaps in service provision were identified the force approached the PCC to ensure that PCC commissioned services were utilised first. The T/CC confirmed that the force should always seek to jointly commission services and will follow it up with the force’s prevention lead. The T/CC did confirm that he remains unconvinced that the force is maximising the opportunity to reduce reoffending including using low risk interventions that need to be commissioned at scale.

5.Summary of Actions Arising

NL provided a summary of actions as set out above in bold.



7.Confirmation of next meeting type/date/time/venue:

Thematic – Budget – Monday 8th April