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Home > Police Report Card > West Midlands > Report Card

Report Card

Here we tell you how well your police force is performing when compared to similar forces around England and Wales. Your police force is West Midlands Police.

HMI Drusilla Sharpling: Overall assessment

West Midlands Police employs more than 13,000 officers and staff - it is the second largest police force in England and Wales and is responsible for tackling high levels of threat from serious crime, major events and terrorism in a complex environment.

West Midlands is a predominantly urban area attracting large numbers of visitors. Birmingham is a national commercial centre, often called England’s ‘second city’, attracting high profile conferences and well established local and international businesses. By 2011, almost 40% of Birmingham’s population will be from minority ethnic communities and, together with Coventry and Wolverhampton, the people of West Midlands speak nearly 100 languages. Six Premier and Football League clubs based in the force area pose policing challenges.

West Midlands Police plays a significant part in protecting the public from serious harm and the force has been assessed as ‘Excellent’ in this field of endeavour. Performance in dealing with major crime and tackling serious and organised crime is particularly strong, as are preparatory arrangements for events that may result in outbreaks of public disorder.

The force has extensive experience and expertise in dealing with complex major crime investigations and working with neighbouring forces against organised crime gangs. More than 300 staff deal with homicides and serious violence, some linked to the problems posed by ‘guns and gangs’. The force plays a leading role in coordinating activity to combat terrorism and domestic extremism. Staff are skilled at responding to these threats at regional, national and international levels.

In addition to the significant successes in disrupting criminality and bringing offenders to justice, the force strives and plans for improvements to local services. It has made significant efforts to consult all sectors of the community and conducts local surveys of more than 21,000 people each year. Around 92% said they believed the police would treat them with respect. The force has worked successfully to improve the confidence of victims of crime and there is a strong commitment to dealing with anti-social behaviour (ASB). West Midlands was assessed as ‘Fair' for its delivery of the Policing Pledge; perceptions of ASB are stable and effective systems are in place to identify repeat incidents. The force uses community resolutions to deal with some crimes, whereby victims have a say on how the case should proceed.

There are also areas for improvement. Overall levels of crime have been falling but the risk of being a victim of violent crime, including robbery, remains higher than in similar areas. Not all 999 calls are attended within the target time of 10 minutes.

Looking forward, the Chief Constable has taken a lead in driving improvements in local services and overall performance on crime, including force-wide operations to target offenders. West Midlands is a high/medium cost force which employs more police officers but fewer police community support officers (PCSOs) than its peers. A new force structure will align ten policing units with local authority or constituency boundaries, with the aim of achieving better local services and enabling staff to forge effective partnerships for the future.

HMIC's assessment of performance and prospect of improvement

HMIC inspects how forces perform in a range of activities and against a number of agreed standards. HMIC's assessment of performance for each of these activities is shown below.

HMIC also makes a professional assessment of whether the force's performance is likely to improve or decline in the future, for some indicators.


Local crime and policing


Neighbourhood policing

meeting standardblank

Neighbourhood presence


Reducing crime


Solving crimes


Protection from serious harm


Investigating major crime

exceeding standardblank

Reducing road death and injury


Solving serious sexual offences


Suppressing gun crime


Suppressing knife crime


Confidence and satisfaction


Comparative satisfaction of BME community


Meeting the Pledge Standards


Perceptions of anti-social behaviour


Public confidence: all agencies


Public confidence: police


Satisfaction with service delivery


Value for money: staffing and costs


Cost of policing


Cost per household


Number of police officers and PCSOs


Proportion of policing cost met from council tax


The above grades were published on 13 March 2010. HMIC proposes to update these grades annually.