Press release

Local Impact – West Mercia

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Police Now officers tackling crime and anti-social behaviour across West Mercia

Friday 4 June 2021

Nearly 4,000 fewer anti-social behaviour incidents nationally in areas with Police Now officers – equivalent to 22% fall

Substantial decrease in criminal damage & arson, burglary and theft amongst other crimes

Police Now attracts and develops the most diverse group of officers in policing

Police Now officers are playing a vital role in tackling crime and anti-social behaviour in the West Mercia.

Communities where Police Now officers have been posted for the last 22-months have seen 38,772 fewer incidents of anti-social behaviour compared to the same time period from October 2016 – equivalent to a 14 per cent drop.

Officers on Police Now’s National Graduate Leadership Programme have been working alongside their colleagues within their local neighbourhood teams.

As well as the drop in anti-social behaviour, communities have also seen 14,301 fewer incidents of criminal damage & arson – a fall of 13 per cent. There were 12,460 fewer incidents of burglary – a fall of 16 per cent – and 31,732 fewer incidents of theft, equivalent to a 14 per cent fall.

PC Cat Hughes of West Mercia Police has been dealing with problems of ASB in her community. She has put together a problem-solving plan and is working with local partner agencies, such as the town council and homeless outreach centre, to find ways to reduce ASB in a way that means a criminal conviction is the least likely outcome, unless it’s entirely necessary. As part of this, a number of community protection warnings have been issued.

PC Hughes recently dealt with a repeat 18-year-old offender, who the force was having daily issues with due to his increasing ASB. After drinking and climbing onto the roof of a shopping centre, PC Hughes issued him with a PSPO (Public Space Protection Order) which meant he had to leave the town centre for 48 hours. Through CCTV monitoring, the force was alerted that he was back in town the following day, so PC Hughes and her PCSO colleague made their way to the area and issued him with a Section 34 Dispersal Notice to prevent further ASB.

PC Hughes said “I worked with the problem-solving hub and got the man issued with a Community Protection Warning, to prevent his ASB heightening into further offences and bad behaviour. Since the explanation and issuing of this warning, there has not been any problems with the man and I hold the belief that this has helped to solve the issue. From working in the role I see how vital and necessary neighbourhood policing is. You gain a better insight into what lasting problems are occurring and work with many other agencies to help solve this.”

Police Now’s mission is to transform communities by recruiting, developing and inspiring diverse leaders in policing.

Officers on Police Now’s programmes develop skills in leadership and problem-solving. They share a commitment to public service, fighting crime and inspiring social change alongside their colleagues.

Police Now has recruited a total of 1,830 officers across 33 forces in the UK, including West Mercia Police. Chief Constable Anthony Bangham has invested in his communities by partnering with Police Now for the past four years, with 26 police constables and 9 detective constables joining the force via this route.

Police Now consistently recruits more officers who are women or from black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds compared to any other entry route into policing. Police Now recruitment data shows that of those starting on Police Now’s National Graduate Leadership Programme in West Mercia in 2020, 17 per cent identified as coming from a Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic background and more than half (58 per cent) identified as women.

“We’re incredibly proud of the positive impact our participants continue to have within their local communities, and their commitment to driving positive change with their colleagues so that everyone in our society, including the most vulnerable, have a chance to thrive”.

David Spencer

Co-founder of Police Now and former Detective Chief Inspector

Neighbourhood police officer | Catrin Hughes

Q&A with Police Constable Catrin Hughes

Neighbourhood Police Officer

National Graduate Leadership Programme Participant

West Mercia

Police Now is trying to increase diversity in the force. Do you think having a force that better reflects the community it serves helps to bring down crimes like anti-social behaviour and why?

I believe by having a diverse force, with a range of different attributions to them, can allow members of the public to trust and have confidence in our capabilities and the work we do. For example, as a young woman I can engage with certain individuals and what they are going through, and provide them a different kind of service, than somebody with different attributes to me.

What was the most important lesson you took from your training with Police Now that has enabled you to deal with crime / support your community?

A lesson I have taken from Police Now is the importance of neighbourhood policing, as an outsider I never realised there was a difference between response policing and neighbourhoods. Originally, I brushed it off and didn’t understand it’s necessity but from working in the role I see how vital and it is; you gain a better insight into which lasting problems are occurring in certain areas and work with many other agencies to help solve this and improve the situation.

Have you implemented any new initiatives to reduce ASB or burglary crimes, or build confidence in policing in your community?

I work on a busy town centre area, we have a clear issue with the homeless and anti – social behaviour. I have put together a problem-solving plan and I am working with the harm hub to effectively put this into use. We are trying to find ways to reduce the ASB in a way that means a criminal conviction is the least likely outcome, unless it is entirely necessary.

The ways we are working to prevent the ASB is by engaging with the local partner agencies including the homeless outreach centre, the local authority and the town council, to see what is being done or has been done to try to help the individuals’ lives. A number of community protection warnings have been issued, this is almost like a stepping-stone and start of the ladder, if the behaviour continues and we receive further complaints from residents in the town centre and businesses then we will go up a step on the ladder and issue a community protection notice.

We also have powers called a Public Space Protection Order (PSPO). An individual will have to leave the town centre for 48 hours if they are issued one, they will be issued one if their behaviour is anti – social and having an impact on the town. We type the paperwork up and send it to the council if they choose to prosecute.

What has been the moment that you have been most proud of professionally in the last 22 months?

I have been offered a permanent role and I feel proud of my post. I know how sought out this position is and over the last few months I have truly come to appreciate and understand it. I can see how it is having a positive effect on the community. I became a Police Officer to help people and help change their lives, this role helps me do that.

Data references

Using data taken from Police Recorded Crime Statistics, the independently peer-reviewed figures compare the 22-month period from October 2016 to July 2018 before any Police Now officers had joined their local communities to the period when they joined from October 2018 to July 2020.

The data presented here is subject to limitations with Police Recorded Crime Statistics and methodology. More details on this are available at the bottom of the following Police Now webpage.

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Police Now | Devon & Cornwall Constabulary
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Chief Constable

National Graduate Leadership Programme

Cohorts: 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020
No. of police officers enrolled: 8

National Detective Programme

Cohorts: —— —— —— —— 2019 2020
No. of police officers enrolled:

Case studies: