West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner, Simon Foster, has officially launched his Police and Crime Plan, following an extensive and wide-ranging consultation. This is the document required by law that sets out the needs, priorities and objectives of the people of the West Midlands in relation to policing, crime and criminal justice, that will run for the term of office. It will be used to hold the Chief Constable and the police service to account on behalf of the people of the West Midlands.
The PCC’s priorities will include: rebuilding community policing by putting 450 officers onto the streets at the heart of neighbourhoods, combatting violence against women and girls and domestic abuse, tackling violent crime, including knife crime and investing in schemes to support young people to prevent them becoming victims of crime, criminal exploitation or offenders.
As chair of the region’s Criminal Justice Board, Simon Foster – who was a legal aid solicitor for 35 years – is prioritising improvements to the West Midlands’ justice system to improve efficiency, effectiveness and tackle the root causes of crime.
The plan details the PCC’s aims for the force and how he will hold the Chief Constable to account to achieve them, as well as setting out steps the PCC will undertake with partners from across the public sector.
Launching the new plan, Police and Crime Commissioner Simon Foster, said:
“My core mission during my term of office will be to rebuild community policing. Community policing is the bedrock of British policing. It embodies the principle of policing by consent on which policing in our country is built.
“I will begin the crucial work of rebuilding it to keep our communities safe. As a start, on my mission to rebuild community policing, I will aim to put 450 additional officers into neighbourhood policing, strengthening the local bonds between the public and the police and improving our ability to proactively solve local issues before they become critical.
“Combatting violence against women and girls and domestic abuse is a top priority for me. It has catastrophic and life changing consequences. I will campaign to challenge and change attitudes and behaviours amongst men and boys. Violence against women and girls across the country is under reported and prosecution rates are extremely low. I will work with the police and Criminal Justice System to change this. Domestic abuse means that for far too many, home is not a safe place. As Police and Crime Commissioner, I will ensure West Midlands Police prioritise domestic abuse and take a robust approach towards perpetrators, so that they are held to account.
“I will continue to invest in preventative services and work with local authorities and other providers to divert young people away from a life of crime and into employment. We have to make sure that young people have the opportunities they need to get on in life. I will do all I can to support the rebuilding of youth services, including the piloting of schemes in the region to get youth workers back on the ground.
“Violence blights the lives of far too many young people. I will tackle this issue head-on. Robust policing is key, but cannot solve the issue alone. I will use every tool in our kit, from expanding the placement of youth workers in A and E departments and custody centres, to schemes that directly work with young people in schools, we will do all we can to tackle the scourge of violence. Violence has had a catastrophic impact on people, families and communities. It requires us all to work together to tackle it. Communities will be at the heart of my approach to this.
“I will also tackle the causes of violence, including the drug market. Drug supply and dealing scars communities and ruins lives. Far too many people are dying and crime is being driven by the criminal exploitation of those people who suffer with chronic drug addiction. By tackling the root causes of crime, we can reduce the number of victims too. A large proportion of thefts, for example, are due to people stealing to fund their addiction. Harm reduction initiatives will be matched by tough policing towards those profiting from the misery caused by drugs and addiction. By reducing the demand for drugs, we can reduce the crime it drives too.
“This plan is a comprehensive agenda for change, development and progress in policing, rebuilding community policing, putting prevention at the heart of what we do and ultimately delivering justice, safety and security for all of our people and communities of the West Midlands.”
The plan also sets out the measures and targets the Commissioner will use to hold the force to account so as to ensure a safe and secure West Midlands.
The plan is split into six sections covering the major priorities of the Commissioner:
Section 2: Working in Partnership Locally
Section 3: Police Collaboration
Section 4: Civic leadership and campaigning for change