West Midlands Police has been praised by the national police watchdog for cutting crime, tracing offenders and reducing anti-social behaviour − and all for just 55p per person per day!
New police performance reports by Her Majesty’s Inspector of Constabulary (HMIC) applaud the force for its efforts to prevent crime, including rigorous management of offenders, and the standard of its investigations.
And the force’s achievement of cutting costs in line with government savings whilst reducing crime and keeping a strong police presence on the streets was rated “outstanding”.
The PEEL − Police Effectiveness Efficiency & Legitimacy − report is designed to give the public an ‘at-a-glance’ overview of how well police are doing in their area.
It reads: “Crime in the West Midlands has fallen in line with the rate in England and Wales but the level of anti-social behaviour is lower (than elsewhere). The force has made good progress in understanding victims’ perspectives and improving victim care… and delivers excellent value for money.”
The cost of policing in the West Midlands is 55p per person per day.
West Midlands Police’s first PEEL report − which simplifies evidence from detailed HMIC inspections on specific areas of police business − adds that the force is focused on fairness and responds robustly to any misconduct or corruption.
And it says the force “makes good, appropriate use of restorative justice outcomes” that cut red tape associated with formal court procedures and frees officers up to patrol and tackle crime.
“The force has good crime-recording procedures in place when receiving reports of crime,” it continues, “meaning that victims of crime receive the service they should when they first report a crime.”
West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson said, “West Midlands Police faces the most challenging financial circumstances of any police force in the country. It is therefore heartening to see that we continue to be rated as excellent in our financial planning and the steps we have taken to cope with £126 million in cuts over the last four years. My satisfaction is tempered by a recognition that unfair implementation of the government’s own national policing funding formula has meant that we have lost £367 million of funding that should have come to us since 2006, and largely gone to low crime forces instead. West Midlands Police has shown how public services can be lean, efficient and forward thinking, but it would be naive not to recognise that there have been serious consequences from our harsher treatment – notably four years without recruiting any officers, the need to use A19 to compulsorily retire officers, and a genuine risk that without fairer funding, recruitment will stop again after the current round of 450 new officer posts. In this context, recommendations from HM Inspectorate of Constabulary that we should increase resources in particular areas, for example the Professional Standards Department (which has been the victim of national top slicing to boost the budget of the Independent Police Complaints Commission) show a lack of joined up thinking and a limited appreciation of the scale and injustice of the challenge we face.”
West Midlands Police Chief Constable Chris Sims, said: “The PEEL reports enable the public to judge our performance as a whole… anything that makes it easier for people to hold us to account and get involved with local policing has to be a good thing.
“Overall, it recognises good standards of policing and crime investigation, acknowledging our efforts to keep crime rates falling, with some areas of business rated ‘outstanding’.”