Chief Constable Pippa Mills addresses the report into culture and standards within the Metropolitan Police Service and offers reassurance around action being taken by West Mercia Police.

Dear residents of Herefordshire, Shropshire and Worcestershire,

Yesterday (Tuesday 21st March) the report into culture and standards within the Metropolitan Police Service was released.

The appalling examples of discrimination in the Baroness Casey Review are beyond unacceptable and the review has also, understandably, become the catalyst for a drive for overall police reform.

I want to reassure you of the action being taken by, West Mercia Police, to ensure we are the best we can be for you, for victims and survivors and for our officers, staff and volunteers. 

We are more inclusive, more diverse, and more reflective of our communities than we have ever been, but racism, misogyny, discrimination, and bias do still exist.

What also exists is a drive and commitment to change, to improve. This work had already started before I joined the force and I’m proud of the further significant strides we have taken forward in the last 18 months.

We have been unapologetic in our mission to rooting out corruption, relentless in our approach to getting individuals out of our force that betray our core values; treating any misconduct related to racism, misogyny, and homophobia with the utmost severity.

In the last 12 months eight officers have been dismissed for behaviour that fell far below the standards of professional behaviour, letting down out communities and bringing discredit to our profession.

We are strengthening our Anti-Corruption Unit, increasing proactive intelligence gathering and have successfully increased the speed at which we are getting these people out and ensuring they never work in policing again.

As confidence in these processes continues to grow you will see more people being dismissed – we will not be quiet when this happens, so that we can demonstrate to you our commitment to an ethical service and the real, tangible outcomes of this work.

We are focusing on improving your trust and confidence in us, and particularly amongst women and girls.

We have a determined and clear approach to tackling male perpetrated violence against women and girls.

We now have specialist officers dedicated to focussing on doing all we can to prevent harm in the first place and, alongside an additional lawyer to help us as cases progress to the courts, we are committed to bringing offenders to justice.

At the beginning of 2022, we added inclusive to our force values – an important step to addressing inappropriate or unfair behaviours, harassment, bullying or discrimination. We actively encourage our workforce to call out misogynistic, racist, homophobic and discriminatory behaviour.

We have a strong gender balance here at West Mercia Police, particularly at senior levels and within our specialist units, and we are award-winning in our advocacy of diversity and inclusion.

However, we are not complacent and are working to encourage greater recruitment and retention of underrepresented groups in the force. We’re achieving this by understanding disproportionality in reasons for leaving the organisation and addressing and removing barriers where they exist.

We know our bonds with our Black communities are fragile, there’s a lot we need to do to rebuild those relationships, to address race disparities and to change a legacy of distrust. We are delivering against the national Police Race Action Plan and are working to encourage greater recruitment and retention of underrepresented groups in the force.

Here I have shared just some of the ways that we are already working to ensure we are the very best force that we can be. 

A recent survey across our communities showed that 89% of you have trust in us and 83% have confidence in us. We police with your consent, and that requires your support whilst our officers work hard 24/7/365 to deliver quality policing services and protect people from harm.

We are striving to listen to our communities and there are ways that you can help us hear your views and challenge our actions

I encourage you to speak to your local policing teams, join our Independent Advisory Groups, sign up for local surveys and updates that help us focus and improve our work. Together, we can ensure a safer, stronger future for Herefordshire, Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin and Worcestershire.