West Mercia Police has been told its performance on serious and organised crime, and that the force’s performance overall, needs improving.

The force was told that, although it is officially ‘good’ at investigating crime, it ‘requires improvement’ in preventing crime and keeping people safe and also in protecting vulnerable people and supporting victims.

Officers should map local crime gangs and monitor them to identify ways to disrupt and investigate their activities, and identify those-people who are at risk of being drawn into such groups, and work to prevent it.

The report, by Her Majesties Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services, also said the force should set up better intelligence-sharing with other forces and agencies which should “include the creation of a local profile for serious and organised crime which provides the force and its partners with a single, comprehensive picture of the threat.”

The force’s Police and Crime Commissioner John Campion told councillors on the West Mercia Police and Crime Panel that the report into the forces’ effectiveness was ‘disappointing.’

Mr Campion’s response read: “A Prevent Strategy is being developed and the force and I are committed to work together to support partnership working.

"Work is ongoing to increase the use of civil orders and has been successful in obtaining two Serious Crime Prevention Orders.

"Further applications are in place for a number of other serious and organised and economic crime investigations.”

It also pointed out that an increase in reported crime in the West Mercia area of five percent was less than half of the national average increase of 12 per cent.

The Chief Constable of West Mercia, Anthony Bangham, told the panel: “We now have a West Mercia improvement plan in place, and are working to address all the concerns of the HMI.”

One change, according to the chief constable, was to make more recognition of the differences between policing in West Mercia and in its ‘alliance’ partner Warwickshire police.

Mr Campion agreed to update the panel on progress in addressing the areas of concern in the report at the panel’s next meetings in November and February.