West Midlands' new top cop given 'reduce crime' order as violence continues to surge

The West Midlands's new police chief has been ordered to reduce crime as the region battles with surges in violence, thefts and drug offences.

Craig Guildford is set to be appointed West Midlands Police Chief Constable
Craig Guildford is set to be appointed West Midlands Police Chief Constable

Craig Guildford is set to be appointed West Midlands Police Chief Constable next month, replacing Sir David Thompson who is retiring after six years in the role.

And he faces a monumental challenge to clamp down on crime in a region rated as the second most dangerous in Britain.

The most recent Home Office figures, for the year to December 2021, show crime shot up by almost a third (32 per cent) in the West Midlands Police area; the biggest spike of all 41 forces.

Violence against the person rose by a staggering 41 per cent to 157,489, while sexual offences went up by 40 per cent, drug offences were up 23 per cent and theft surged by 49 per cent.

Weapons possession was up 70 per cent to 5,572.

West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner Simon Foster said he expected the new chief to reduce the spiralling crime rate.

He said: "Craig Guildford will be responsible for working with me to deliver my Police and Crime Plan and my core pledge to rebuild community policing.

"I also expect the incoming Chief Constable to reduce crime, so as to ensure the West Midlands is a safe and secure place for people to live and work."

The demand comes after new figures showed there have been more than 10,000 victims of knife and gun crime in the West Midlands over the last three years, with the youngest aged just 10.

Greater Manchester Police had the second biggest rises in crime among English forces, on 26 per cent. Nationally crime went up by an average of six per cent.

Mr Foster has also given the chief a remit to "drive recruitment to make West Midlands Police look more like the communities it serves".

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