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West Midlands Police to get 366 new officers by 2021

By Peter Madeley | Crime | Published:

And there will be more officers for Staffordshire and West Mercia forces.

West Midlands Police is to recruit 366 new officers as part of a recruitment drive

West Midlands Police will get 366 new officers over the next 18 months as part of the Government's drive to crackdown on rising crime.

The force has been given the recruitment target out of an initial tranche of 6,000 officers nationwide, which need to be brought in by the end of 2020-21.

It will boost officer numbers by six per cent and is the first stage of a three year programme that will see West Midlands Police get an expected 1,220 new officers.

The Home Office has pledged to hire 20,000 more police officers by 2023.

It comes as crime has rocketed by 11 per cent across the West Midlands over the last year, with violent crime hitting a record high.

'Blunt and outdated formula'

West Midlands Police and Crime David Jamieson welcomed the extra resources, but said they did not cover the 2,131 officers the force had lost as part of £175 million of cuts since 2010.

“I am concerned that resources have once again been divided using a blunt and outdated formula that disadvantages areas like the West Midlands and helps leafy, lower crime areas, that have lost fewer officers than forces like ours," he added.

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"It would have been more sensible to allocate officers based on the crime threat and need of forces.

“Nevertheless we will put these officers to good use helping to keep the West Midlands safe.”

West Midlands Police's headquarters Lloyd House

Eddie Hughes, the Tory MP for Walsall North, said he hoped the PCC would ensure the new officers were spread across the whole region.

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"We have suffered enough in the Black Country and I don't want too see the PCC and the Chief Constable prioritise Birmingham with these new recruits."

Dudley South Conservative MP Mike Wood, said: “We now need to ensure these additional officers are distributed fairly across the West Midlands and that our communities in Dudley get their fair share.”

Jay Singh-Sohal, West Midlands Conservative PCC candidate said the extra officers were "a welcome boost" for the force.

“Residents and business are rightly concerned about rising crime levels across our region, and this officer increase will help to tackle some of our problem areas," he said.

'Real and lasting difference'

In the first year of the recruitment drive Staffordshire Police will get 90 new officers, West Mercia Police gets 93 and Warwickshire Police will be able to recruit 41.

Staffordshire PCC Matthew Ellis, said: "The police here have worked hard to make the most of the resources they have and 90 more officers will make a real and lasting difference for local people.

“This boost to police officer numbers will help turn the tables still further on those who cause harm and is just the start of action being taken to crack down on crime and make our streets and communities safer.”

Staffordshire's Chief Constable Gareth Morgan, said the uplift would accelerate existing recruitment plans, which will see the force recruit 180 officers in 2019-20 following an increase in the council tax precept.

Staffordshire Police chief constable Gareth Morgan

He added: “It is important that Government has recognised the reduction in police numbers has to be addressed and has provided funding to enable this to happen so that we have the capacity and capability to tackle the increasingly complex world of crime and make a positive difference serving the public in our community.”

The force with the highest recruitment target by 2020-21 is the Met Police, with 1,369 – around 1,000 more than West Midlands Police, which had the second highest.

Greater Manchester Police is set to take on 347 new officers, while West Yorkshire Police will see an extra 256 officers.

Meanwhile Lib Dem campaigners have said the boost to officer numbers does not go far enough.

Party spokeswoman Leyla Abbes said: "These new bobbies are just replacing cops that we lost in the last couple of years.

"Of course, we want to see more bobbies on the beat but both the Tories and Labour play politics with the police and in the end the public lose out."

Peter Madeley

By Peter Madeley
@P_Madeley_Star

Political Editor for the Express & Star. Responsible for local and national political stories, opinion, comment and analysis.

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