Worcester’s MP Robin Walker has praised the Government’s recent pledges to tackle crime nationally. This follows the announcement made less than a year ago increasing West Mercia’s central funding by approximately £2.3million in 2019/2020.

The Prime Minister’s announcement of 20,000 more police officers on the streets by 2022 will likely provide hundreds of extra front-line officers for West Mercia. Robin has welcomed this increase unreservedly and acknowledges the positive impact this will have on local policing and protecting his constituents.

In March, the Department of Justice announced national funding as part of the Victim’s Strategy allocating Worcestershire Rape and Sexual Abuse Support Centre £259,560, and the Herefordshire Rape and Sexual Abuse Support Centre £194,670 to provide support services for victims of rape and sexual abuse in the local area.

The Home Secretary Priti Patel has announced a surge of activity to crack down on county lines drugs gangs. The package of measures – underpinned by £20 million of Home Office investment – will intensify law enforcement efforts to disrupt the county lines model.

County Lines describes a specific type of criminal exploitation whereby organised crime networks exploit vulnerable young people to sell drugs across county lines to avoid concentrated police operations.

The new package of announcements includes:

Expanding the National County Lines Co-ordination Centre

  • There will be additional investment into the National County Lines Co-ordination Centre to increase its activity, providing strengthened capability and capacity at a regional and national level to disrupt county lines. This will include placing more officers and staff into the centre and providing additional strategic resources to regional organised crime units.
  • The National County Lines Co-ordination Centre brings together a multi-agency team of experts from the National Crime Agency (NCA), police officers and regional organised crime units to tackle the issue of county lines through sharing intelligence, working with partners across government and taking concerted action.
  • Since it opened a year ago, the National County Lines Co-ordination Centre has co-ordinated action which led to over 1,800 arrests and has safeguarded over 2,400 vulnerable people – including more than 1,000 children.

Increased disruption on rail networks

  • Rail networks remain a key method of transportation for county lines gangs. There will be British Transport Police teams that work exclusively on county lines, and will be based at a number of railway stations across England that are key hubs for county lines drug trafficking.

Investment in technology to disrupt county lines operations

  • Roads are also used to transport offenders, victims, drugs, cash and weapons. Enhanced data analysis using automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) will enable police to proactively target vehicles suspected of being used in county lines activity.

Working with money service bureaus to tackle illicit finance

  • County lines is a cash-driven activity. The government will intensify operations to identify opportunities to take action against money service bureaus, enabling increased cash seizures and arrests for money laundering.

Increasing support services for county lines victims

  • County lines gangs operate their business through exploiting children and vulnerable people. The government will develop an expanded national specialist support service to help young people and their families exit their involvement in county lines.

This package will significantly bolster our response to county lines. Alongside these measures, in September the Chancellor announced a formal review to identify the powers, capabilities, governance and funding needed to develop our response to serious and organised crime ahead of a full spending review next year.

Additionally, a new £25 million fund to tackle burglary, theft and other offences in crime hotspots has been announced by the Home Office today.

Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) across England and Wales will be able to bid for Safer Streets Fund investment for measures aimed at preventing acquisitive crime in disproportionately affected areas.

Initiatives could target vehicle theft, robbery or burglary, among other crimes, and could include interventions to improve home security, such as installing better locks and gating alleyways, and make streets better lit at night.

Speaking after the announcements this week, Robin said:

“I am glad to see the Government time and time again coming out to support police forces across the country. In Worcester, we have benefited from initiatives from various departments including the Home Office and the Department of Justice to tackle local crime at its root whilst simultaneously providing more comprehensive care and support for those who have been victims of criminal offences.”

“Each and every crime prevention strategy has been executed competently and diligently by the West Mercia Police Crime Commissioner, John Campion, ensuring that communities are safer and that police forces and other enforcement agencies have the time and focus to concentrate on more complex crimes.”

“I was proud to support last year’s Assault on Emergency Workers Bill providing extra judicial powers to hand out tougher sentences for violent and abusive assaults on our front line workers.”

“As Worcester’s Member of Parliament part of my duty and responsibility is ensuring that the safety of my constituents is protected. When crime cannot be prevented, we must have structures and strategies in place to provide the highest levels of support to victims. I am in regular contact with West Mercia and advocate on their behalf in Westminster; I am glad to see strong and definitive actions being implemented by the Government to support police officers as they protect and serve the public.”

Police and Crime Commissioner, John Campion, said:

“The Government’s action will make a huge difference to the communities of Worcester and beyond. In the last year I have already delivered an additional 215 police officers for West Mercia because I recognise it is what our communities want and what our police force needs. The Government clearly understands this too.”

“I have ensured record levels of recruitment and training in West Mercia in the last year and am reassured the force is ready and able to implement further uplifts in officer numbers very quickly.”


ENDS

Notes to editors

For Robin’s previous statements on policing, please see:
https://www.walker4worcester.com/?s=police

For more information on the Victim’s Strategy please see:
https://www.gov.uk/government/news/funding-boost-for-victims-of-rape-and-sexual-abuse

For more information on the Assault on Emergency Workers Bill, please see:
https://www.cps.gov.uk/legal-guidance/assaults-emergency-workers-offences-act-2018

For more information on the 20,000 new police officers, please see:
https://www.gov.uk/government/news/national-campaign-to-recruit-20000-police-officers-launches-today