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

Roll out of body worn video

As part of my commitment to a modern, reformed police force, I approved a £1million investment in body worn video for our police. This technology has been shown to provide a higher quality of service for victims, reduce complaints against police officers, help prevent crimes occurring and provide clear evidence of incidents when required.
I promised that I would invest in a forward-thinking police force that makes the best use of technology in order to provide an efficient and effective service, and this is just one of the ways in which I'm delivering on that.

The increased transparency the video provides helps to reassure the public, giving our communities greater confidence in the police service.
This month, this new equipment was rolled out to the first officers in West Mercia. I was pleased to see first-hand how the force is beginning to use the cameras. 46 officers in Malvern were the first to get the equipment. They will be followed shortly by Telford and right through the force through the remainder of 2017. I look forward to seeing it playing a big part in my vision for a reformed, reassured and safer West Mercia.
VIDEO: PCC funds 1,000 additional places for young driver project
Around a third of the crashes on our roads involve young drivers. This is clearly too high and needs a new approach so, as part of my grants scheme for 2017/18, I decided to focus on developing a programme of activity across West Mercia to target young people under 17 years of age. Earlier this month I was pleased to confirm that I would be funding an additional 1,000 places on the Under 17 Car Club Charitable Trust's Pathfinder Project. 

This project gives young people the opportunity to drive various cars (including HGVs and fire engines!), whilst under supervision, on airfields so they have the chance to learn invaluable skills and gain experience before being able to legally drive.

Clearly my first priority is to keep everyone safe on our roads, prevent accidents ever happening and reduce the number of people killed or seriously injured behind the wheel. However, this project is also a sound financial investment as well. Road accidents incur massive costs for our public and emergency services. If this project can prevent just one serious accident it will have paid for itself multiple times over by reducing demand on our police and NHS, and potentially our courts, probation or prison services as well.

The funding will ensure that the project can be delivered to young people (aged from 11-years-old) across the whole West Mercia area and beyond. The scheme, which has been established since 2008, will now be made available in Worcester, Telford and Hereford twice each year (at Easter and October half-term). I visited one of their local events this month, as shown in the video above and the photo below.
VIDEO: Funding of West Mercia Search and Rescue
It was an honour to meet the West Mercia Search and Rescue (WMSAR) volunteers this month.

These individuals devote their own time to keeping our communities safe.
By investing in the charity, with a grant of £51,000 over three years, I am helping West Mercia SAR to provide an even greater visible presence and professional service across our communities. This is particularly important to the most vulnerable people in their time of crisis.

The grant will also have a positive impact on the police service, reducing the workload of officers and allowing them to build on their already strong relationship with the charity. I am committed to ensuring that our communities are safe, and feel safe, and I’m grateful to West Mercia SAR for the important part they play in achieving this.

West Mercia SAR will use the funding to grow their team to 100 members, as well as recruiting and training community search volunteers and creating training and logistical bases. The grant will also cover the charity’s annual rent and insurance, previously paid for by their volunteer members and charitable donations, allowing them to focus their fundraising efforts on training, equipment and expansion.
Police and fire collaboration in Hereford

I was pleased to welcome the latest collaborative approach between police and fire this month. Seven members of staff from Hereford and Worcester Fire and Rescue Service’s West District administration and community risk team have joined West Mercia Police’s harm hub. They will work in an integrated way from Hereford Police Station on Bath Street. The two teams will work together to protect the most vulnerable people in the community, with a coordinated leadership approach throughout incidents involving both services.

The approach is about more than just working side by side, it’s about providing the most efficient and effective public and emergency services to our local communities. By integrating in this way our teams can share knowledge, resources and skills and ultimately work to the same aim of protecting the most vulnerable people. This is just one example of a close partnership which I am pleased to support. As Commissioner, I am keen to look at more ways we can continue to work together in the future to provide the best service for the public.
Community Ambassador round up

Despite the Easter break, it's been another busy month for my Community Ambassadors.

Clockwise left to right: Shropshire's Ambassador, Graham Oliver, attended a Justice in a Day event, congratulated the newest recruits of West Mercia's Police Cadets in Wem, took part in the 'Big Busk' for the ARK project and the visited Crossbar Coaching who provide sporting opportunities for young people.
Below, clockwise left to right: Herefordshire's Ambassador, Dan Guerche, welcomed the new 'eyes' signage in Herefordshire, went out on patrol with the 'Epics' from Herefordshire's Close House, joined Karen Foote at the Leintwardine Youth Club, and attended the Moreton-on-Lugg parish council meeting.
North Worcestershire's Ambassador, Margaret Sherrey, has been introducing herself to a number of parish councils within her patch and meeting other members of the community, including schools and the local safer neighbourhood teams.
Drive VR: pioneering road safety tool
Too many people are killed or seriously injured on our roads in collisions which could have been prevented. Education is vitally important to ensure everyone understands the impact of making a decision that can put road users at risk. Therefore I am keen to ensure that resources continue to be put in place to change people’s perceptions and behaviours in order to prevent collisions on our roads.
Earlier this month I got the opportunity to trial DriveVR, which is an excellent example of a forward thinking approach. In a demonstration from Anna Higgins, from the Safer Roads Partnership team (pictured with me below), I saw how immersing users, and literally putting them in the driving seat with virtual reality technology, DriveVR shows that split second decisions can have long and short term effects for drivers, passengers and pedestrians.
The app was created with the input of Police Cadets to be aimed at others of a similar age group. It is being delivered to around 5,000 young people each year as part of the Green Light Programme and focuses on common causes of road traffic collisions, including: speeding, mobile phones, drink driving, drug driving, passenger distractions, seatbelts, rural roads and pedestrian safety. I hope it will continue to be a success, helping to making our roads safer.

For more info and to download the app visit the DriveVR website.

John's Diary

Wednesday 3 May - Neighbourhood Watch Forum
Tuesday 9 May - HMIC Protecting Vulnerable People event
Thursday 11 May - Dodford & Grafton Parish Council Meeting
Friday 12 May - Out with Bromsgrove Street Pastors
Tuesday 16 May - Shawbury Annual Parish Council Meeting
Thursday 18 May - Guest speaker at South Worcestershire Citizens Academy

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

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