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A record number of police officers are now serving Herefordshire, Shropshire and Worcestershire communities, as officer numbers hit a new high.

In 2019 a government campaign, known as Uplift, was launched to recruit 20,000 officers nationally and the force was given a target to hire 311 extra police officers. Thanks to West Mercia Police’s recruitment efforts and investment by the Police and Crime Commissioner John Campion, the force has now not only reached this target, but exceeded it by 19.

This investment in additional officers means that, from today, West Mercia Police has a headcount of 2494 officers within West Mercia Police – the highest number in force history. Since 2016, police officer numbers in West Mercia have increased by 508. This has been made possible as a greater proportion of the police’s budget has been focused on front-line service delivery.

Reaching this landmark moment has been a collective effort across the whole force with officers and staff working to recruit the right people, carrying out thorough vetting and properly train new officers. The benefits are already being felt across the communities of Herefordshire, Shropshire and Worcestershire.

Police and Crime Commissioner John Campion said: “I am extremely proud to see police officer numbers at their highest level in West Mercia Police’s history.

“As the voice of the public in policing, I have listened and delivered on calls for more officers to be visible and accessible in the heart of your communities.

“Since I was first elected in 2016, I have overseen a year-on-year increase in police officer numbers and while the force has now hit this momentous milestone, I am funding a further 40 officers – exceeding the Government’s target.

“As PCC, I will continue to champion a journey of reform in West Mercia Police to ensure you feel the benefit of the increase in officers, working to meet your priorities.”

Chief Constable Pippa Mills said: “This is a fantastic achievement and great news for the communities we serve. These new officers will be vital in helping us protect people from harm and deliver an excellent service that the public deserve. We’re ensuring this investment increases visibility across our communities and helps us get the best possible outcomes for victims of crime.

“As a result of this recruitment drive we are now a more representative force as well and we have achieved a long-standing of having 35% female representation across the force. We’ve now revised our target and reset it at 50% as it’s important we continue to be ambitious to achieve a more balanced level of representation.

“Officers from ethnic minority backgrounds have also increased, from 2.4% in 2019 to 3.3% today and so we continue to work to be a force that is truly representative of the communities we serve.”

The force’s efforts to recruit police offices will not stop post Uplift. West Mercia Police is committed to its recruiting and resourcing plan for 2023/24, where it has committed to recruiting an additional 40 officers whilst also maintaining uplift numbers. This makes sure there are enough police officers in the right roles to keep communities safe.