An extra 200 police officers are to be recruited over the next two years − spelling the first growth for West Midlands Police in over a decade.
Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson announced the increase yesterday (07/03), with recruitment set to open shortly.
The move will see additional officers brought in to work in areas affected by violent crime. Officers will be working in local communities and investigating serious crime.
While the rise in council tax, announced earlier this year, prevented West Midlands Police from shrinking any further it is the efficiency savings, made through various modernisation projects, which will allow extra officers to be recruited.
Police officer numbers were due to total 6,539 by 2021, but will now rise to 6,739, with recruitment set to begin shortly for the next phase, which will see new recruits join under their new student officer programme, where training will be delivered in partnership with a university. Student officers will work towards a policing degree alongside their practical training in different teams across the force.
Chief Constable Dave Thompson said:
“We all welcome the first growth in police officers in over a decade. The new officers will be deployed in priority neighbourhoods that are facing serious crime challenges, in response policing – to improve our ability to get to the public at times of need – and into the investigation of priority crimes of violence, robbery and burglary. This is a good step forward I hope future funding can build upon.”
West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson added:
“By driving further efficiencies and making cost savings I have been able to deliver 200 more police officers for West Midlands Police.
“These officers will make a difference to tackling violent crime in the West Midlands.
“Despite the huge efficiencies made by the force, these additional officers will not make up for the more than 2,000 lost since 2010. West Midlands Police has faced cuts to its budget from government of £175 million over the last nine years.
“I will continue to campaign for a better funding settlement for West Midlands Police.
“These extra officers have been delivered following a rigorous efficiency making exercise. We’ve looked at every process and are now able to reinvest these savings on the front line.
“Unfortunately, West Midlands Police had a stand still budget once increased pension and wage costs are considered. Thankfully their efficiency programme has enabled officer numbers to increase.”
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