The Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson has announced an increase in officer numbers for West Midlands Police following a wide ranging efficiency programme, which has cut waste, delivered new technology and improved working practices.
Officer numbers will increase by 200 over the next two years. Additional officers will be focussed on tackling violent crime and working closely with local communities.
The PCC has confirmed police officer numbers were due to total 6,539 in 2021, but will now rise to 6,739.
Recruitment will begin shortly.
Whilst the rise in council tax rise, announced earlier this year, prevented West Midlands Police from shrinking any further it is the efficiency savings which will allow extra officers to be recruited.
They will be paid for after an efficiency drive by the force which was overseen by the PCC. Savings made from the WMP2020 project have enabled the force to boost police numbers.
West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson, said:
“By driving further efficiencies and making cost savings I have been able to deliver 200 more police officers for West Midlands Police.
“These officers will make a difference to tackling violent crime in the West Midlands.
“Despite the huge efficiencies made by the force, these additional officers will not make up for the more than 2,000 lost since 2010. West Midlands Police has faced cuts to its budget from government of £175 million over the last nine years.
“I will continue to campaign for a better funding settlement for West Midlands Police.
“These extra officers have been delivered following a rigorous efficiency making exercise. We’ve looked at every process and are now able to reinvest these savings on the front line.
“Unfortunately, West Midlands Police had a stand still budget once increased pension and wage costs are considered. Thankfully West Midlands Police’s efficiency programme has enabled officer numbers to increase.”
Knife crime in the West Midlands has risen by 85% since 2012 and gun crime has risen by over a third during the same period.
David Jamieson, who recently described the rise in violent crime as a ‘national emergency,’ added:
“Officer numbers are a hugely important part of the response against violent crime, but investment in preventative services is key too.
“I am also pushing the government to fund the expansion of the West Midlands Violence Prevention Alliance, which brings together the police, health service and other agencies to take a public health approach to tackling violence.
“In the short term, I am also putting together a special grant bid to government to increase capacity this year, to allow West Midlands Police to continue to make an intensive response to violent crime.”
The Chief Constable of West Midlands Police, Dave Thompson, said: “The public and the staff of West Midlands Police will welcome the first growth in police officers in over a decade. The new officers will be deployed in priority neighbourhoods that are facing serious crime challenges, in response policing – to improve our ability to get to the public at times of need – and into the investigation of priority crimes of violence, robbery and burglary. This is a good step forward I hope future funding can build upon.”
Police officer recruitment will open shortly. In the meantime those interested in joining West Midlands Police can register their interest here.