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Today the PCC has launched a key report which informs, in close detail, the importance policing has in ensuring that the West Midlands economy and criminal justice system recovers effectively from COVID-19. The West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner, David Jamieson wants to make sure that the lifting of lockdown doesn’t lead to a return of rising crime.

The new report emphasises the need for a joined up approach across the public, private and third sectors in making sure that potential risks which could threaten the economy recovering and, in turn, increase crime and anti-social behaviour need to be tackled swiftly. These include unemployment, a key determinant of criminality as well as factors such as schools being closed for a long period, the impact on organised crime and county line drugs gangs, crimes against businesses and more.

When he was elected in 2014, Police and Crime Commissioner, David Jamieson put economic development at the heart of his Police and Crime Plan, highlighting the importance that a strong economy, where people are able to get into work, thrive in education and training and lead positive lives has in reducing crime.

Since then, the PCC has put together a range of programmes which support the economy, empower young people and support business. These have included the reformation of the West Midlands Police Cadets, teaching young people key citizenship skills and making them key members of their communities, an Enterprise to Employment scheme to help those who have previous been through the criminal justice system into setting up their own businesses. He also has a Business Crime Partnership, working to tackle crimes against those who are the backbone of the West Midlands economy.

Key asks of other partners were contained in ‘A Future Generations Deal’ which was launched by the PCC in June. This called for measures including a subsidy scheme to help young people into work, ways of supporting apprenticeships and investment to upskill young people so they can be at the very heart of the economic recovery after COVID-19.

The PCC is also calling for action to ensure that young people who have missed out on education in recent months can access the internet and educational resources. He has also acknowledged that, as well as restarting the economy, that communities need to restart and that the public and private sector need to help achieve this.

The West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner, David Jamieson, launching the report, said:

“As lockdown eases, we need to make sure crime doesn’t rise and our criminal justice system recovers.

“We are now at a fork in the road as we tackle coronavirus and recover. We have a responsibility to a whole generation of young people to ensure they can succeed. To do this we must properly plan and create an economic recovery that uses the skills we already have and give young people the opportunities they need in employment and education.

“The lack of education for young people during this crisis has meant that they are much more at risk of becoming vulnerable and at risk of exploitation. At risk of county lines drugs gangs and traffickers and without the safeguarding mechanisms of schools able to function to their normal levels, it makes more young people targets.

“We also need to make sure that we are able to address issues such as homelessness and substance misuse. Funding which was put in place to get people off the streets needs to be extended and the wrap around support for rough sleepers needs to be in place.
“We know that having a strong, prosperous economy, where people can find work and access the services they need reduces crime. That is why making sure that we get this recovery right is even more crucial. If we fail to do so, we will potentially cause even more damage to not only the economy, but our communities.”

Other key asks are around organised crime, criminal justice, transport, victims’ services and support for businesses. You can read the full report and its recommendations here.

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