Get involved! Send your photos, video, news & views by texting WN NEWS to 80360 or e-mail us
West Mercia issue statement on local policing plans
WEST Mercia's Chief Constable and Police and Crime Commissioner have jointly revealed their new local policing plans.
In a statement it said the plans were a result of the austerity measures and Government financial plans for West Mercia Police which is required to identify £20.1 million in savings by 2015.
"The strategic alliance with Warwickshire Police provides the force with a greater opportunity to protect frontline policing resources by doing things once, sharing assets and ensuring our processes are lean and effective," it said.
Chief Constable David Shaw outlined details of the new policing model designed to deliver the maximum protection possible to communities in West Mercia, with the emphasis on local policing.
"The force will continue to operate in five geographic policing areas within the counties of Herefordshire, Shropshire and Worcestershire, aligned to local authority boundaries," the statement contined.
"Each of the five local policing areas will be led by a Superintendent who can make the right decisions for their local community.
"There will be 11 patrol bases across West Mercia and 82 Safer Neighbourhood Teams. Each team will have a named local police officer supported by PCSOs, Specials and Volunteers.
"Some communities which are considered to be in a Priority Policing Area will have access to extra resources.
"There are 20 Priority Policing Areas of higher demand across West Mercia. This assessment has been based on crime and incident levels, deprivation, partnership feedback and our professional judgement.
"To ensure the effective delivery of this new policing model a review of the current force estate and all its premises has taken place and been redesigned to ensure it is fit for purpose.
"As part of this review we have identified savings of £1.5 million; this equates to 30 Police Constables or 50 PCSOs."
Chief Constable David Shaw said: “Considerable time and thought has gone into the development of our new local policing model with broad engagement with the previous Police Authority, PCC, community partners, Warwickshire Police, staff and other key stakeholders.
“We must ensure the needs of our communities today are met and that means our workforce being visible and located close to communities.
“There will be 82 Safer Neighbourhood Teams across West Mercia to serve the needs of local people and response officers will be deployed from 11 patrol bases. The new policing model means residents in Herefordshire, Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin and Worcestershire can continue to receive a good service from us.
“In order to implement our new approach we carried out a comprehensive review of our current estate to ensure that it is affordable, acceptable and sustainable.
“We found that some of our current estate will not be fit for purpose to deliver our new policing model and some of our properties are very costly to run and maintain.
“Our estate will be smaller in the future and this will release money to pay for our workforce and other resources that deliver protection.
“Future service delivery will enable the provision of a high level of police visibility across West Mercia with a particular focus on those parts of the force with higher demands.
“Crime levels are down and public confidence in policing is good. Response times will remain at the excellent level they currently are and we will also be moving towards officers using increased mobile technology. This will enable them to remain on the streets for longer and not have to return to base to check systems. This increased visibility and patrol time is better for our communities.
He added: “Members of our workforce will be moving locations to ensure they are in the right place over the next few months but we will remain focused on delivering daily protection from harm.
“With strong leadership and the confidence we have in our new approach we will ensure West Mercia remains a safe place to live and work”.
Police and Crime Commissioner Bill Longmore said: “I have worked very closely with the Chief Constable on this plan. Now this plan has been presented to me I will be seeking feedback from communities to ensure it is entirely fit for meeting the needs of those who live, work and visit West Mercia.
“It is vital to remember at this time that every pound saved on our estate means more money to protect people from harm.
“Fewer buildings equals more protection and the innovative new ways of working we will be delivering as part of our new policing model will mean less need for expensive buildings which are not fit for purpose.
“Ultimately the fewer buildings we have and the more we reduce our estate the more resources we will have to protect communities.
“This new approach will deliver significant savings both now and in the future.
“However despite all these changes the public will see an increased presence on their streets and channels through which they will be able to meet and speak with a member of our workforce will be broadened.”