As the West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner enters his second year in office he’s promising more police officers will be recruited and based in neighbourhoods across our region.
Simon Foster has already ensured West Midlands Police appointed 211 extra neighbourhood police officers since his election in May 2021, but says more are needed.
Mr Foster will serve a three rather than four-year term, after the pandemic delayed the 2020 election. One of his manifesto pledges was to rebuild community policing by pledging an additional 450 police officers. They’ll be allocated to community policing, to prevent and tackle crime and to keep people, their families and communities safe and secure.
His other achievements in the first 12 months include, the preparation and launch of a West Midlands Police and Crime Plan, following extensive and wide ranging consultation, doubling the number of specialist advocates available to support domestic and sexual abuse victims, establishing a new service for victims of hate crime, launching campaigns to combat violence against women and girls and domestic abuse, investing in safer streets schemes, commissioning victims support services, expanding a drug treatment programme to reduce shoplifting and calling on the government to level up and reinstate our 1,000 missing police officers and provide fair funding for West Midlands Police.
Simon Foster has overseen the work of the Violence Prevention Reduction Unit, which aims to prevent and tackle violent crime by focusing on prevention, early intervention and its underlying causes. That has included setting up a new scheme to help young people, who have been groomed to sell drugs, escape a life of danger, misery and criminal exploitation. School pupils are now safer on the streets after youth workers were placed in key locations on the route to and from school. The VRU has increased the number of youth workers in Accident and Emergency departments, who work around the clock, to support people caught up in a life of violence. Whilst tens of thousands of pupils have received education about the dangers of knife crime from people who have experienced those dangers first hand.
Car crime continues to surge as thieves respond to the news that the value of new and second-hand motors and car parts is rising. The PCC will confront this head on with a campaign targeting manufacturers, auction sites and law makers.
The PCC understands that communities are key to the prevention and tackling of crime. That’s why they have been supported to make their areas safer. Mr Foster has transferred hundreds of thousands of pounds seized from criminals to community projects, in order to promote community safety and crime prevention.
It’s a good start, but the PCC recognises there is much work ahead.
He will continue his work as joint national lead for serious violence and as Chair of the national board on counter-terrorism. Top of the PCC’s in-tray, is the successful recruitment of a new Chief Constable, after the incumbent, Sir David Thompson, steps down. The new Chief will have one of the biggest jobs in policing and their appointment is a top priority.
The West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner Simon Foster, said:
“Representing the people of the West Midlands is an honour and a privilege.
“I take the trust and responsibility placed in me by the people of the West Midlands very seriously. It drives me on to take the action that is required to ensure our police force is the best it can possibly be, in order to prevent and tackle crime and to keep people, their families and communities safe and secure.”
“Significant progress has been made in my first year. I am grateful to the team around me for delivering at such pace.
“However, the year ahead will be busier still as we continue to commit ourselves to constant and unremitting action to prevent and tackle crime, ensure perpetrators are held to account via the criminal justice system and victims of crime are able to access the right support services at the right time.”
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