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First things first: Merry Christmas to each and every one of you and here’s to a happy and healthy 2017.

This year has flown by but, looking back, there have been so many highlights and achievements along the way.

On a personal level, being re-elected back in May with the highest mandate outside of London was incredibly humbling. Thank you to all who voted and put their confidence in me.

My main election promise throughout the campaign was the recruitment of more police officers and I’m now delivering on that. The recruitment of 800 officers has now begun, with more than 3,000 people from all walks of life applying for the posts. The recruitment of 200 specialist support staff and 150 PCSOs will soon follow – and I’m sure we can all agree this is great news for the West Midlands.

One of the things I’m most proud of is changing the law surrounding zombie knives. For 12 months, I led a campaign to get these vile weapons removed from our shops and streets and I finally achieved a nationwide ban in August. This moment was particularly poignant as I felt we broke new ground in what PCCs can achieve.

Another pioneering moment was my public hearing into the unacceptable 24-hour delays on the M6 that brought the region to a standstill and saw patients unable to get to hospital, people missing funerals and pregnant women trapped in cars for hours at a time. I decided to step in and do something about and brought all the relevant parties together to thrash out the issues and come up with improvements. A follow-up meeting was held this week and you can read more about it further in this newsletter.

These are just a handful of the achievements we’ve clocked up in 2016 and I’m confident there’s many more to come in 2017. The hard work has only just begun and the future is looking bright for the West Midlands and its outstanding police force.

Once again, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you all.

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The PCC blogs in his regular newsletter, which you can read here.

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