Update from West Mercia Police & Crime Commissioner

Hello and welcome to my latest newsletter. This edition includes: celebrating Remembrance Day differently; tackling and preventing crime in our community; continuing to support victims; a warning of the dangers of scams and a series of podcasts to keep you busy this lockdown, as I discuss a range of topics from Domestic Abuse to careers at West Mercia Police.

Due to the new COVID-19 government guidelines, my office is mainly working from home and, whilst we are able to take phone calls to our usual OPCC number, I would encourage you to contact us by emailing opcc@westmercia.pnn.police.uk or by using our social pages ‘westmerciapcc’ on Facebook and twitter. Any members of the public needing to call the office can do so between 09:00 and 17:00, Monday – Friday. Please stay safe and look out for each other.

Myself and my office remembered those who gave their lives for our freedom, as we marked Remembrance Sunday and Armistice Day differently this year.

I want to hear your stories and what the days mean to you…

Thinking of those who gave the ultimate sacrifice, celebrating relatives who fought valiantly and remembering those who served at home are all close to our hearts.

Remembrance Sunday is a poignant event at West Mercia Police, and I am proud to have a number of reservists and veterans in the force.

And on the anniversary of the end of the First World War, myself and my office also observed the two-minute silence at 11am.

But what do the days specifically mean to you? What do you think of when you hear Remembrance Sunday and Armistice Day? Do you have any family members who served at home or abroad?

It isn’t too late to share your thoughts and stories on my Facebook page, as we celebrate and remember the days together.

Tell us your story here »

Thank you to those who had their say on key issues impacting you…

Around 1500 people participated in the survey below.

With the help of your Council Tax, I will set the police and victim services budget next year, and I ran a public survey to gather your views.

Thank you to those who let me know your concerns, what your priorities are, what it’s like where you live from a policing perspective and which areas of policing you would choose to spend more or less of your money. This helps shape the budget.

Whilst the survey is now closed, others have had their say on my Facebook page, click here and have yours!

Latest news…
As part of my commitment to tackling Serious and Organised Crime, I am pleased to work with the force as we continue to tackle the issue through Operation Protect

In the past week, a county line drug dealer – Robin Naughton, 41, from the West Midlands – was jailed for 28 months on two counts of possession of class A drugs with intent to supply. He was caught with heroin and crack cocaine in Commercial Road, Hereford.
Read more here »

Another man was also sentenced to 39 months in prison for dealing drugs and carrying a knife.
Read more here »

The impact of crimes such as child sexual abuse, county lines drug trades, modern slavery and human trafficking can be devastating and destroy individuals and damage entire communities.

Read my commitment to tackling Serious and Organised Crime here »

I gave a round of ap-paws as the Government backed the Animal Welfare (Sentencing) Bill

The Bill, aka Finn’s law, will mean animal abusers could face up to five years in prison, and is now onto the committee stage after passing its second stage in the UK House of Commons.

Find out more about Finn and how this will help him and his furry friends »

I am pleased to fund 116 more officers in the region compared to this time last year

As part of the national campaign to recruit 20,000 additional police officers over the next three years, it is great that West Mercia is ahead of schedule.

Read more here, as I continue to deliver on my pledge to increase officer visibility »

I am proud to fund the force’s Inclusion Volunteers project

It is fantastic to see students of New College Worcester flourish by joining the Inclusion Volunteers.

Not only do the students develop valuable skills for the future, but the positive impact they have had on Worcester Police Station highlights the importance of partners working together.

Read the full story here »

I am running another FREE online driver awareness session

Can you remember what every sign means? Can you tell what the speed limits are without signs? Can you spot hazards?

As part of my safer roads commitment, and following the success of the first session, the second FREE online driver awareness session will take place on Wednesday 18th November.

Sign up here »

I am proud to fund and work with the ‘We Don’t Buy Crime’ team, who do a brilliant job in tackling and deterring criminal behaviour…
I met with Ram, Estelle and Frank of ‘We Don’t Buy Crime’ as they showed off three newly branded vehicles

It is great that they will be visible throughout West Mercia, helping to deter criminals and celebrate the areas already protected by the ‘We Don’t Buy Crime’ scheme.

Head to the ‘We Don’t Buy Crime’ website to learn how the initiative protects our community »

More than 200 people given advice on how to keep their homes, sheds and bikes secure

South Worcestershire’s rural & business crime team recently ran bike and home crime prevention events in Worcester City Centre.

Over 70 bikes were protectively marked and over 200 Smartwater kits for homes were distributed during the two outdoor events.

Read more here »

I received a touching letter from Montford Parish Council

It thanked West Mercia Police, the ‘We Don’t Buy Crime’ team and myself for keeping residents safe and preventing burglaries in their homes.

A lovely reminder of the success of Smartwater technology and the difference we can make by working together.

See the full letter on my Facebook page »

I echo West Mercia Police’s request to report crimes online

The pandemic is placing additional pressure on the control room as staff self-isolate.

It is vital to report crimes online where possible instead of calling 101, and to only dial 999 in an emergency.

Full statement here »

I have made resources available to make it easier for communities to stay connected

From video calls with our loved ones to clapping for our carers, the solidarity shown throughout the pandemic has been truly heartwarming

The new measures are a reminder to continue looking out for our most vulnerable.

Resources to download here »

Continuing to deliver on my commitment to victims…
Recently I called on the Government for urgent support to maintain virtual remand hearings. To continue delivering on my commitment to victims, we must ensure the justice system works for them.

Full story here »

I reaffirm my commitment to thousands of domestic abuse victims

I have finalised my domestic abuse plan which aims to reduce the number of people who suffer from DA, whilst ensuring that the right support is provided locally to victims & survivors.

Read more on my website »

Support for victims of sexual abuse now easier to access

Victims of sexual assault and abuse in West Mercia will now be able to access support services more easily, thanks to funding from NHS England.

Read the full story here »

It is vital to raise awareness of the support available to Domestic Abuse victims

Please don’t suffer alone, reach out and seek support, and make sure your friends and loved ones know that charities like WMWA are still there.

More information here »

It is vital to be aware of ongoing scams…
Courier Fraud

There has been a spate of courier fraud offences happening across West Mercia, with Shropshire seeing a recent increase in the number of people conned out of thousands of pounds.

Anyone who receives these calls should hang up and report it immediately to Action Fraud online (link below) or by ringing 0300 123 2040.

ActionFraud.police.uk »

Fake PayPal emails

This year, fake PayPal emails have lead to the loss of over £8 million. The emails trick victims into believing they have received payment for items they’re selling on the platform.

We are warning people selling items online to be on the lookout for criminals sending the fake emails.

More information on how to protect yourself »

We must all be careful when shopping online this Christmas

As well as avoiding scam websites and messages, follow the tips below to minimise any fallout should you be unlucky enough to fall victim to online crime.

Check out the tips on how to shop online safely »

Confidence up as crime down, but there is more to do…
Continuing my commitment to road safety in West Mercia

I am supporting the NPCC’s (National Police Chiefs’ Council) national campaign to protect vulnerable road users.

People must be sensible on our roads, and the large increase in those caught speeding cannot continue.

Facebook »
Twitter »
Instagram »

I am pleased to see drink driving offences fall, but there is more to do.

100+ offences a month is unacceptable, especially given COVID19 restrictions around pubs.

Too many lives are lost on our roads and families impacted, even without drink driving. Stay alive, don’t drink and drive.

Facebook »
Twitter »
Instagram »

The Safer West Mercia Podcast continues to grow and now has over 500 downloads!
Latest episodes…

1) Domestic Abuse – Are you or someone you know suffering at the hands of an abusive partner? I spoke to Sue Coleman from West Mercia Women’s Aid about the services available for those in need of help.

2) A career in policing? – I sat down with student officer Simon Redman as we covered his reason for joining the force, an insight into his training and what advice he would give to someone thinking of a career at West Mercia Police.

3) Safer Roads – I talked to Lee and Nigel from West Mercia Police about how Op Snap has enabled the public to help make West Mercia’s roads safer.

4) The Drive project – Rosie Jarvis from ‘Safe Lives’ and Lisa Ignoscia from Cranstoun joined me to discuss the Drive project which works to end domestic abuse by challenging and changing perpetrator behaviour.

And finally, some things to watch…
Making sure the community work done by volunteers doesn’t go unnoticed

Deputy PCC Tracey Onslow thanked Independent Custody Visitor (ICV) John Cairns for his 25 years service as a volunteer. John recalled his time of being an ICV and said he thoroughly enjoyed the role, which involves visiting custody suites and making sure detainees are being looked after.

Watch the full story here »

We must continue to adhere to the COVID guidelines.

Christmas is a time for friends and family. But, the message is loud and clear – we need to do everything we can to make sure we reduce COVID infection if we’re to celebrate Christmas with our loved ones.

Wash your hands, cover your face and make space, and we will get through this together.

Watch my plea to you »