Writing in this week's Redditch Standard (March 17th), Rachel said:
I know from talking to people on the doorstep that crime and antisocial behaviour are some of the biggest causes of anxiety in local communities.
I completely understand these fears - it is only right to expect that if you find yourself the victim of a crime, you can be confident the police will respond quickly and decisively.
That is why I stood on a manifesto in 2019 promising to deliver an additional 20,000 police officers nationally, and why I am glad that an additional 231 police officers have been recruited in West Mercia. In addition to this, 40 more officers will be recruited as part of the Police and Crime Commissioner for West Mercia’s budget for the year ahead.
This brings the total West Mercia police officers to their highest on record. We have already seen the impact these measures can have, with the local force committing to attend all burglaries.
The Government is backing these new officers with fresh investment, with the Home Secretary announcing that in 2023-24 the overall funding settlement for the policing system will total up to £17.2 billion, a £287 million increase on the 2022-23 funding settlement.
Furthermore, available funding to police and crime commissioners (PCCs) will increase next year by up to an additional £523 million, demonstrating our continued commitment to backing our police.
While officer numbers are central to effective policing, equally vital is making sure the police have the power to carry out their jobs effectively.
New court orders introduced in the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Court Act will crack down on knife crime, making it easier to stop and search known knife offenders and prevent future tragedies, while an overhaul of sentencing laws will keep serious and sexual and violent offenders in prison for longer.
I fully supported these measures as they went through Parliament against vociferous opposition from the Labour Party, who time and time again refused to back additional protections for women and girls and tougher sentences for the most violent criminals.
I speak regularly to our local police chiefs and neighbourhood officers and want to thank them for all they do. I know how much hard work they put in behind the scenes to keep us all safe and respond to issues in a timely manner. If you are concerned about crime or anti-social behaviour, please report it to the police in the first instance.