The Tories have slashed funding over the last decade, with a £29.5m real-terms gap in direct government funding. Even after increases in precept funding, Tory cuts have left a £18m real-terms hole in West Mercia’s finances.
These cuts have had a devastating effect, with the loss of 170 officers between 2010-11 and 2019-20. While numbers have increased slightly since, progress is too slow – in 2020 the number of officers increased by just 73 (3%).
PCSO numbers are down by over a fifth (22%) compared 2010, from 279 to 217.
While staff numbers are down by 10%, from 1,715 to 1,454.
Since 2016, total recorded crime has increased by 11% (7,877 more offences), violence is up 48% (11,032 more offences), robberies have risen by 19%, residential burglaries have increased by a third (33%), and weapons possession offence are up 75%.
In the last year, 42% of all recorded crimes in West Mercia were violent (33,964 out of 80,514).
Arrests have fallen by over 2,000 in the last 3 years, from 13,649 to just 11,372 (17% fall).
Since 2010, knife crime has increased by 62%
In its last inspection, HM Inspectorate of Constabulary said West Mercia needs to improve the ways in which it investigates crime as it does not have enough capacity and capability to cope with investigative demand. It also said the force needed to improve its approach to catching criminals and protecting vulnerable people.