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More officers for West Midlands Police

200 more officers are going to be hired by West Midlands Police.

The force's commissioner says efficiency savings have freed up the money for them - which has also cut waste, delivered new technology and improved working practices.

Police officer numbers were due to total 6,539 by 2021, but will now rise to 6,739, with recruitment set to begin shortly for the next phase, which will see new recruits join under our new student officer programme, where training will be delivered in partnership with a university. Student officers will work towards a policing degree alongside their practical training in different teams across the force.

Chief Constable Dave Thompson said: "We all welcome the first growth in police officers in over a decade. The new officers will be deployed in priority neighbourhoods that are facing serious crime challenges, in response policing - to improve our ability to get to the public at times of need - and into the investigation of priority crimes of violence, robbery and burglary. This is a good step forward I hope future funding can build upon."

West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson added: "By driving further efficiencies and making cost savings I have been able to deliver 200 more police officers for West Midlands Police.

"These officers will make a difference to tackling violent crime in the West Midlands.

"Despite the huge efficiencies made by the force, these additional officers will not make up for the more than 2,000 lost since 2010. West Midlands Police has faced cuts to its budget from government of £175 million over the last nine years.

"I will continue to campaign for a better funding settlement for West Midlands Police.

"These extra officers have been delivered following a rigorous efficiency making exercise. We’ve looked at every process and are now able to reinvest these savings on the front line.

"Unfortunately, West Midlands Police had a stand still budget once increased pension and wage costs are considered. Thankfully their efficiency programme has enabled officer numbers to increase."

Knife crime in the West Midlands has risen by 85 per cent since 2012 and gun crime has risen by over a third during the same period.

David Jamieson, who recently described the rise in violent crime as a ‘national emergency,’ added: "Officer numbers are a hugely important part of the response against violent crime, but investment in preventative services is key too.

"I am also pushing the government to fund the expansion of the West Midlands Violence Prevention Alliance, which brings together the police, health service and other agencies to take a public health approach to tackling violence.

"In the short term, I am also putting together a special grant bid to government to increase capacity this year, to allow West Midlands Police to continue to make an intensive response to violent crime."

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