The Police and Crime Commissioner has given his strongest indication yet that dozens of extra police officers will be announced for the West Midlands in the coming weeks.
Simon Foster vowed to start the year with a bang, reassuring local communities that he will be boosting officer numbers in communities as a matter of urgency.
The Police and Crime Commissioner pledged to increase neighbourhood officers by 450, in his term of office and has already introduced 211 – with more set to be announced in January.
It follows more than a decade of reckless government cuts, that reduced the number of neighbourhood officers from around 1,800 in 2010 to around 700 in 2018.
The new officers will support the Commissioner to deliver on other pledges in his Police and Crime Plan, including preventing and tackling violent crime, violence against women and girls and domestic abuse.
He said: “Over the past 12 years, the government recklessly cut police budgets and by 2023 we will still have 1,000 fewer officers when compared to 2010.
“However, I am committed to introducing 450 new neighbourhood police officers, ensuring we have visible policing out on the streets, keeping people, their families and communities safe.
“We are set to start 2023 in the best fashion – by introducing yet more neighbourhood officers to the streets of the West Midlands.”
As the new year starts the Police and Crime Commissioner has also re-doubled his pledge to reduce violence against women and girls, with the successful Safer Streets campaign, alongside Victims’ Commissioner Nicky Brennan, forming a major part of this work.
He is also working with Assistant Police and Crime Commissioner, Tom McNeil, on important campaigns, such as tackling loan sharks and lobbying for new laws on private e-scooters.
Alongside Assistant Police and Crime Commissioner, Wasim Ali, he is also focused on tackling car thefts, improving road safety and working alongside Youth Commissioners.
The Police and Crime Commissioner is leading the way on ensuring the force is Carbon Zero by 2035, with the roll out of 68 new electric police vehicles.
He said: “You can expect more of these eco-friendly cars and vans in the future. It is a tough target, but one I am confident can be achieved.”
Looking at the year ahead, he added: “There are major challenges coming, mainly in the form of finances, trust and confidence in policing and ensuring the force is representative of the people it serves.
“But I am confident, that working alongside the new Chief Constable, Craig Guildford, we can and we will, do what it takes, to ensure justice, safety and security for the people of the West Midlands.”