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Update from West Mercia Police & Crime Commissioner
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The latest news from John Campion, West Mercia Police and Crime Commissioner

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Fairer funding to meet police demand
I promised I would push for a fairer share of police resources. This month I have taken action to fulfil this promise, by asking on the Policing Minister to consider challenges faced in rural areas.

I want to deliver a better deal for our communities within the national picture, as part of my vision for a safer West Mercia.
There are a range of clear and unique challenges to policing in our area, including; the costs of delivering police services in largely rural, sparsely populated areas, deprivation that can exist within rural areas, the significant amount of crime which happens within smaller forces but originates from larger, metropolitan areas and the imbalance in council tax that exists between areas which receive more government grant, compared to those which receive less.
 
I don’t feel the current funding formula acknowledges these properly and certainly doesn’t offer our communities the sort of value for money they should rightfully expect. This was echoed in a recent HMIC report which showed West Mercia Police is underfunded when compared to its peers.
 
The Value for Money report showed West Mercia Police receives around £5.8 million less than other forces of a similar size and demand. Whilst West Mercia Police receives a lower than average demand for 999 calls and emergency incidents, it does receive a higher demand for victim based crimes, in particular violent crimes and crimes against children.
 
West Mercia Police has an above average number of police officers in relation to the population size, and has a higher than average number of suspects identified. Investments are also being made in ICT modernisation to improve efficiencies and effectiveness in the future.
 
With fairer funding, we could improve resources to the areas of greatest demand and provide better services for victims. I am grateful for the chance to discuss this important issue with the Minister and I am reassured that he and the government are committed to resolving this issue and providing a fairer distribution of police resources, to better serve our communities.
John Campion pictured (right) at a previous meeting with Policing Minister Brandon Lewis and Home Secretary Amber Rudd (centre) with other Police and Crime Commissioners
Aymestrey village speed reduction scheme

I have funded the first stage of a traffic calming scheme on a dangerous section of road in Herefordshire.

 

I promised to listen to the needs of our communities and be responsive to them. This is another example of how I am delivering on that promise. It’s clear that there are some very committed people in Aymestrey who want to improve safety in their community and I am very happy to help them achieve that. Speeding is often an issue raised in our rural communities and this is an excellent example of where a lot of community support coupled with a little bit of money can make a real difference.

£2,700 will pay for village gateways, which will warn motorists they are entering a village and encourage them to slow down. I am happy to support further phases of the scheme if Aymestrey and Herefordshire Council are able to raise further funding.
The relationship between the police and fire service

I published a letter this month as part of my commitment to delivering joined up local priorities, efficient public services and best use of public money.

You may have seen the letter published in local newspapers, about collaboration and integration between our police and fire services.

I believe that if local fire and police are to continue to keep our communities safe then they need to have more seamless collaboration. The police and fire services have worked together on a number of initiatives, but I believe there is considerable as yet untapped potential which we must explore – going beyond simply collaborating and co-locating on specific projects, to actually integrating services and back office functions where it is practical and beneficial to do so.

The services share a lot of common ground and I do not believe the current situation is delivering the best possible results that our communities would expect or deserve. I’ve already started to work closely with my counterparts in the fire services but the pace of change must increase if we are to continue to keep our communities safe.

This month's events in pictures...
  • Visiting Willowdene Farm to find out how they're helping those that have been in the criminal justice system get back on the right tracks
  • On patrol with Kington SNT in Herefordshire
  • Deputy PCC Tracey Onslow attended Pershore High School to learn about keeping safe online
  • A talk at the Federation of Small Businesses conference in Shropshire about tackling cyber, business and rural crime
Body worn video

I recently visited the Metropolitan Police to see the technology and benefits that body worn video brings. The visit reinforced my view that the technology would be a big step forward at a local level for West Mercia Police, so it is something I am actively pushing for.

I promised our communities I would ensure they got a modern, reformed police force. This technology represents a key step in delivering on that promise. These cameras are a necessary and useful part of modern policing. I accept that bringing this sort of technology in cannot happen overnight – the police need to make sure they go through the process properly and thoroughly – but I will hold the Chief Constable to account to ensure an effective, efficient solution is brought in as soon as possible.

I am satisfied that West Mercia Police are doing all they can to introduce similar equipment as quickly as possible and I am hoping to make an announcement around this shortly.
VIDEO: White Ribbon Campaign

Last Friday (25 November) marked International White Ribbon Day and the start of 15 days of campaigning against domestic abuse. Every year, men are asked to make a pledge against domestic abuse and wear a white ribbon in support.

I made my pledge to never commit, condone or remain silent about domestic abuse. Through campaigns like White Ribbon, we can come together to show a united stand in ending domestic abuse. I am committed to reducing harm and protecting the people of West Mercia, particularly our most vulnerable.

By working together, we can provide efficient and effective support as well as early intervention to avoid anyone becoming a victim of this terrible crime. I am making sure that the resources are in place both to investigate these crimes and to ensure that the appropriate services are in place to help victims.
The office gets 'taken over'

As part of the national Children's Commissioner Takeover Challenge, 17-year-old Angus Guthrie was given the chance to become lead decision-maker in my office on Friday 18 November. 

This 'takeover' day gives young people the opportunity to offer a new perspective to businesses and organisations.
Angus, who attends King’s School in Worcester, took on my role for the day.

He identified what his priorities would be if he were PCC, looked at the budgets and how he would allocate the money available, and worked on a campaign to tackle the issue of people using their mobile phones while driving.

Angus looked at adverts that would encourage people to resist all temptation of looking at their phone, when driving or stationary. He also identified ways in which communities can help the police by being the eyes and ears around West Mercia.
 
I thought that Angus came up with some great ideas for the campaign – which I’ll be looking to use in the work my office and I do on this subject. It was invaluable to have his input and hear the views from someone of a younger generation. Angus told me that he thoroughly enjoyed this experience and found it really interesting to work on a campaign that will work to tackle a key current issue.
 
New approach to tackle street drinking
 

I am backing a new approach to tackle street drinking. I gave input and helped to fund the national guidance to tackle “change resistant” street drinkers, which can cost individual local authority areas anywhere between £300,000 and £4m per year.

 

Street drinking impacts across a range of public services; police and other blue light partners, health service and local authorities, so it’s important we work together. Through tackling this issue, we also open up a gateway to tackling a number of other serious issues. It is this joined up approach which will reduce the drain on police resources, and of those of our partners, whilst making a positive impact for the most vulnerable people.

 

I currently provide more than £500,000 in funding for programmes across the West Mercia area to tackle substance dependency. This includes £426,720 towards programmes which include support for recovering from alcohol dependency.

 

The project, led by Nottinghamshire Police and Crime Commissioner Paddy Tipping and involving other PCCs from across the country, builds on this by putting forward tough measures to deal with street drinkers who are most resistant to treatment or help.

Community Ambassador round-up

My Community Ambassadors have had another busy month meeting various people and developing key relationships in their respective areas. Here are just a few photos from their engagements this month.

If you are interested in meeting with your local ambassador, their contact details can be found here.

Photos clockwise: Shropshire ambassador, Graham Oliver, attended the police commendation evening. Graham is pictured (right) with the High Sheriff of Shropshire (left) and Superintendent for Shropshire, Supt David McWilliam (centre). Graham Oliver took part in a 'Respect the Water' campaign in Shrewsbury with the police and RNLI. Herefordshire ambassador, Dan Guerche, visited the Vennture team to learn more about the work they do.
Decrease in police complaints
 

This month I welcomed the news that fewer complaints are being made to West Mercia Police.

 

The figures from the Independent Police Complaints Commission highlighted a number of positives including a 13% decrease in allegations and a 7% decrease in appeals.

 

This is testament to our hard working officers and staff. It is important that when the public speak to us we react, and we put it right when it needs to be put right.

Whilst complaints are few, our communities deserve to know that their concerns will be dealt with quickly.

I was disappointed to see there are delays in recording and finalising complaints, but we do have a strong foundation to build on. I will hold the Chief Constable to account to ensure that improvements can be made, and would welcome anything which simplifies this process.

John's Diary

1 December - Visiting Wychavon area CALC (County Association of Local Councils)
2 December - Visiting Market Drayton and Whitchurch SNT
2 December - Meeting Syrian community in Wem
6 December - Meeting with the Policing Minister, Brandon Lewis
7 December - Police and Crime Panel, Worcester County Hall
7 December - Meeting with Stourport Neighbourhood Watch
12 December - Worcester Cathedral carol service
12 December - Meeting with County Councillors, Shropshire
14 December - Visiting Shropshire Fire HQ
16 December - Herefordshire Conservative Business Forum
20 December - Monthly holding to account meeting with Chief Constable
21 December - Alliance Governance Group meeting

To view a comprehensive version of the PCC's diary, including events in your area, click here.

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Office of the Police & Crime Commissioner, West Mercia · West Mercia Police (OPCC) · Hindlip · Worcester, Worcestershire WR3 8SP · United Kingdom

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