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Update from West Mercia Police & Crime Commissioner
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Emergency services come together
To mark World Alzheimers Day my Deputy, Tracey Onslow, met with senior representatives from Hereford & Worcester Fire and Rescue Service, Shropshire Fire & Rescue Service, West Midlands Ambulance Service and West Mercia Police to publically pledge their commitment to work towards being dementia friendly organisations.

This is yet another excellent example of emergency services working collaboratively to help the most vulnerable in our communities. I will continue to ensure West Mercia Police has the resources to provide the level of service that our communities deserve, and protect people with dementia from harm.
Does it add up?
 
I’ve launched a new campaign which promotes the work of West Mercia Police’s Economic Crime Unit and encourages people to consider when something doesn’t perhaps add up. Over the past few weeks we’ve been out and about at Fresher’s Fayres, encouraging students to look out for the signs of money muling. Here is just a snapshot...

West Mercia Police is committed to preventing and detecting financial crime, and keeping communities safe. As part of my promise for safer, more secure communities I will ensure that West Mercia Police has the resources to tackle economic crime, and that our communities are reassured by the service they deliver. In the coming weeks we’ll be producing more materials, which encourage communities to play their part in looking out for anything suspicious, and reporting it when something doesn’t add up.

Follow the campaign on Twitter, Facebook and Instragram #DoesItAddUp

Tackling violent crime
I’ve welcomed a four-week long knife surrender campaign aimed at making West Mercia’s communities safer for everyone.

Whilst we are fortunate that knife crimes are rare in our communities, just one incident is one too many and the consequences can be devastating. The knife surrender campaign is just one of many ways in which West Mercia Police is committed to tackling violent crime. I am committed to ensuring they have the resources they need to keep our communities safe and secure.

Pictured is Community Ambassador Graham Oliver visiting the Knife Angel as part of the campaign launch. For more information about the campaign visit the West Mercia Police website.
Changing attitudes with gardening
I've been pleased to fund a garden project in Shropshire that aims to change negative perceptions around young people by enabling them to volunteer their time.
The Rockspring Garden Project stemmed from an idea the South Shropshire Youth Forum came up with in 2013. After being asked what concerned them, it was felt that some community members had a negative opinion of their age group – which they were keen to change.
 
The volunteers, aged between 10 and 18 years-old, have given up their time to help the elderly and those with disabilities keep their gardens looking as pretty as they once kept them.
I’m proud of the contribution these young people are making to our society. By investing in projects like this, and giving young people the opportunity to develop into active citizens, means that they are more likely to stay engaged and be inspired to help others in the future.
Use of force figures

This month I welcomed the publication of use of force figures by West Mercia Police.

The investments I’ve already made, such as the rollout of body worn video, deliver increased transparency. The publication of this data is one further step in assuring the public that their police service are meeting national standards, acting in a fair and appropriate way, and taking action should any officer fall below the standard that is expected.

Our communities should feel reassured that West Mercia Police officers are acting with integrity, professionalism and accountability as they continue to keep the public safe.

To view the figures visit the West Mercia Police website
Community Ambassador round up

The Community Ambassadors have been busy getting out to the police station opens days this month, which have been part of the West Mercia Police 50th anniversary celebrations.

Dan Guerche, Herefordshire ambassador, opened the new witness room at Shire Hall which I was pleased to support the renovation of. Dan also attended the Hereford police station open day. Shropshire ambassador, Graham Oliver, supported the Safer Lives Campaign. Margaret Sherrey, North Worcestershire ambassador, attended the Bromsgrove open day. Graham Oliver supported the Independent Custody Visitors (ICVs) at the Telford open day. South Worcestershire ambassador Phil Grove attended the Worcester Community Trust day and dropped by to see the Dawn stand.
Increase in police pay
 

I am pleased that the Government has announced that the pay cap for police officers will be lifted, as our hard working police officers carry out extremely challenging roles, however it does raise concerns that funding can fall short in other areas.

It is important that we are realistic and sensible about funding, ensuring it is used in the most appropriate way to protect communities. The funding has to come from somewhere and there is a risk that by using it for pay increases it leaves gaps elsewhere, which could potentially lead to reductions in officer and staff numbers.

A pay increase of 1% for approximately 2,000 officers currently employed by West Mercia Police, plus the cost of bonuses, would cost around £1 million in the first year. This is the equivalent of around 25 police officers.

We need to ensure we continue to provide our communities with the level of service that they deserve and keep them safe.

My Deputy, Tracey Onslow, attended Long Service and Good Conduct Awards in Worcestershire and Herefordshire this month.

It is always an honour to see the hard work, dedication and professionalism delivered by our officers and staff, and also from members of the public. They serve as great examples and play an important role in keeping our communities safe, so it’s important they get the recognition they deserve.

For more information on the award winners visit the West Mercia Police Website.

Would you like to see where I'll be this month? Check out my public engagements and community meetings on my website.
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