No â€˜for saleâ€™ sign at West Midlands Police
17 May 2012
WEST Midlands Police Deputy Chief Constable David Thompson has thanked his workforce for their "tireless commitment" to keeping communities safe as latest figures show significant success in tackling crime across the region.
Total recorded crime dropped by 10 per cent to its lowest level in recent history last year (April 2011 to March 2012) with more than 21,000 fewer crime victims compared to the previous 12 months.
And latest statistics show that success is continuing.
Since April there have been almost 5,000 fewer victims – a reduction of 19 per cent – compared to the same six-week period last year, with notable falls in the number of people reporting break-ins or robberies.
The number of burglaries fell by 21 per cent (423 offences) over that period while robbery – the recent focus of a rigorous clampdown on offenders under the force's Operation Serve & Protect – is down by almost a third (31% or 330 incidents).
Deputy Chief Constable David Thompson said: "These are financially tough times and we have to make significant cost savings.
"As a force we have already proven that we can respond to challenge by adapting and innovating – but, as always, our efforts are underpinned by our officers and staff, whose tireless commitment continues to keep the public safe.
"These latest figures show that people are safer today in the West Midlands than they have been at any time in the last decade."
Figures released at the end of March show that during the previous 12 months there had been a 15 per cent drop in vehicle crime (4,000 fewer victims) and 17 per cent fewer home break-ins (down 3,200) compared to 2010-11, while robbery was down by almost 20 per cent (1,700 fewer victims).
And public surveys show that confidence in West Midlands Police remains high, with 84 per cent of people questioned saying they have confidence in the police and 87 per cent saying they believe the police are doing a good job.
DCC Thompson added: "We have been very successful in reducing crime over the last 12 months and statistics like this are helpful to give us a snap-shot of our performance.
"Behind these figures though lie very tangible success stories and great examples of how our police officers are protecting the public.
"Our mission is to serve our public and protect them from harm – and we will continue to do this as we move the organisation forward."
West Midlands Police Chief Constable Chris Sims today reiterated the force's commitment to its Business Partnering Programme (BPP).
He made it clear the force is not for sale and even more could be achieved to build on recent performance successes.
BPP is exploring the possibility of whether the force can work with the private sector to transform the way policing is delivered and to improve services to the public.
The force is looking at how working with industry could improve policing services in a period where the financial context remains a challenging one.
To date, savings of £78 million pounds have been made and crime is at a record low but the force recognises that to continue improving service and providing public protection it will need to add something different to the policing mix. As a result, the force is looking at ways of transforming the service.
The BPP programme has caused controversy, with inaccurate claims of "privatisation" and bobbies on the beat being replaced with private security guards.
Chris Sims stood firm with a clear message: "We are not for sale. We are owned by the public and we always will be.
"We are the experts at policing. Policing will not be privatised and is not up for sale. It is and will remain a public service under the direction and control of an accountable Chief Constable.
"Police officers will continue to respond to calls. Officers and PCSOs patrolling streets are the jewel in our crown and we have no intention of changing that – why would we?
"While we believe we are experts in policing, as our crime figures show, we are not expert in all areas and we will always need to work with the private sector, which already supply equipment, technology and some specialist services.
"Policing has not changed as much as the world we are trying to police – we need a step change in how we operate. We want to tap into the private sector even further so we can achieve more."
The force has written a number of case studies demonstrating how it could benefit from the expertise of industry.
Featured on a new site on the force's website, they highlight what the force does well now and what it could do even better in the future by looking at customer experience, officer experience, and how resources and information could be used more effectively. The website can be viewed at www.west-midlands.police.uk/bpp . The site also contains an interview with the Chief Constable.
Mr Sims added: "The case studies have been created as part of our work to explore how a partner can, in our professional judgement, allow us to deliver more effective policing. They are not the solutions we seek but they do identify aspirations for policing where we would expect to see value added."
The force is dedicating a day of tweets to BPP on Monday 21 May and will be hosting a live web chat the following day to answer first hand any questions people might have.
To find out more about BPP and the planned live web chat visit www.west-midlands.police.uk/bpp
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