A good question. They cover a HUGE area, 2,868 square miles, and almost 1.2 million people, but not many people could find them on a map. Basically it consists of the counties of Worcestershire, Herefordshire and Shropshire.
Why am I bothering with a Police Force that most people know nothing about?
Well, a little birdie whispered in my ear that West Mercia Police are, or are considering, withdrawing from the Central Motorway Police Group. This is a group consisting of officers from West Mercia, West Midlands and Staffordshire Constabularies. Withdrawal of any one party will no doubt have a significant effect. Their role is to patrol and Police the motorways of Central England dealing with anything between mobile phone usage whilst driving to collisions with multiple fatalities.
You may think that is not important, but Policing the motorways is important to many people in a whole variety of ways.
Why are they withdrawing from CMPG? To save money for the Force it seems. How much do they hope to save? £16 Million it seems.
I can find no reference to this proposed withdrawal on the Police and Crime Commissioner’s website, but I assume that he was involved in the decision. He is John Campion, a Conservative, who appears to faithfully toe the Tory Party Line.
He has some bold visions. He wants to make West Mercia Police Officers more visible. How is he proposing to do this? Extra officers? No he’s spending £4 million of the Force’s Reserves to buy new IT, Smart Phones and laptops.
He is also proposing to spend £36 million on new Police Stations for Shrewsbury and Hereford.
I am of the opinion that Mr Campion is a true follower of Theresa May and her doctrines.
His plan for West Mercia for the current Financial Year is
- Put victims and survivors first
- Build a more secure West Mercia
- Reform West Mercia
- Reassure West Mercia’s communities
Nowhere in his plan to achieve this does it mention withdrawing from CMPG.
Point 3 mentions Reform. Theresa May is also fond of Reform. Government mantra is all about preserving and protecting the Front Line. Is Policing motorways not Front Line Policing then? Withdrawing from CMPG does nothing for this particular element of the Front Line. Maybe motorways should just become lawless zones where cameras are king? Generate income for the coffers and never mind the fatal collisions or the mobile phone users or dangerously overloaded lorries and vans?
At the beginning of 2017 there was in excess of £50 Million in the Force Reserves. Mr Campion intends to invest most of this in Policing, by buying some phones & laptops and building some new Police Stations.
Other Forces are selling off their family silver to offset “the cuts”, West Mercia seem to be able to build new family silver and still avoid the worst effects of “the cuts”, and at the same time save a further £4 million by taking over the Fire and Rescue Service also, another one of Theresa May’s ideas I believe.
Well, in my opinion (and it is only that) but I feel that I am entitled to hold and express an opinion, Fire and Rescue as well as Police and Crime is too much for one person to do justice to. I am a resident of West Mercia and I applied for the position of Deputy to the PCC when it was advertised, but I’m clearly the wrong kind of candidate, the job went to a Conservative Councillor in the end, and me? I didn’t even warrant an interview, so yes, I will take a keen interest in what goes on in West Mercia and challenge it when I think it’s appropriate.
In other news, I have heard from Bronwen’s brother, Mihangel, who used to work in the canteen before it was closed and he was laid off, that West Mercia are really struggling, they don’t seem to have enough officers available to deal with the number of 101 and 999 calls that are coming in.
According to Mihangel officers are being pressurised to work overtime just to get the basics done and keep the good ship afloat. If I was them I wouldn’t be answering any calls from witheld numbers.
You don’t have to take my word that West Mercia is struggling at the moment, see here
We,ve logged over 1000 incidents already today, 172 required an immediate response. Please only call us if it's absolutely necessary.
— West Mercia OCC (@WestMerciaOCC) July 8, 2017
It seems that Mr Campion has got a rocky road ahead of him. Trying to keep Theresa May or Amber Rudd happy and keep his Force on track, plus plotting to take over the Fire Service can’t be easy.
Maybe, just maybe, Mr Campion has his priorities a tad wrong. I KNOW about competing priorities, and it isñ’t always possible to keep ALL one’s balls in the air, but surely the over-arching priority has to be that West Mercia Police can do their job, Serve and Protect the people of Worcestershire, Herefordshire and Shropshire. Shiny new Police Stations ARE important but more important than being able to effectively serve your communities? It’s definitely a challenge, and it’s a challenge I would have relished, but now I am merely resident, observer and commentator. The safety and public tranquility of the Public are, in my humble opinion, more important than Party loyalties. Theresa May and Amber Rudd don’t always get it right, to follow meekly is not always the appropriate option.
Another Force entirely, that is NOT the Met, is receiving approx 30,000 non-urgent calls and about 50,000 999 calls each month and can barely cope, if indeed they can.
There is a Crisis In Policing. West Mercia are struggling it would seem, through no fault of their own. Many other Forces will no doubt look the same if we study them. It isn’t difficult to spot.
Meanwhile, back at the beginning;
Why not have your own say