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All police work as crucial as patrols
VITAL work carried out behind the scenes by police officers is just as important as bobbies on the beat, according to West Mercia Police.
The force was responding to figures released by the TaxPayers’ Alliance which claimed in West Mercia just 12.6 per cent of police officers and PCSOs are ‘visible and available’ to the public.
The campaign group believe taxpayers spent £722,569 per year for each visible and available West Mercia officer.
However, a spokesman for West Mercia said the nature and variety of their work meant not all officers were visible to the public while they were on duty.
She said: “Many officers do not occupy traditional bobbies on the beat roles. For example CID officers may be working in an incident room on a murder investigation and not patrolling through towns and villages.”
She pointed out West Mercia’s 85 per cent victim satisfaction rating for the overall service it provided was higher than the national figure of 83.75 per cent for England and Wales. Crime has also fallen in the force’s area by 6.2 per cent in the year until January 6, 2013 and the same period the previous year.
The spokesman added: “We recognise there is a popular view that police visibility lowers crime levels, however day to day experience shows that crime falls for a wide variety of reasons and officer visibility is just one of the tactics available to help drive crime down.”
According to the figures, neighbouring force Warwickshire fared worse with just 8.7 per cent of officers working the beat which the Taxpayers’ Alliance claimed cost £1,224,102 per officer.
Matthew Sinclair, chief executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said many police forces could do more to use their resources efficiently and put more officers on the front line facing crime.
He added: “Of course the police have some important work to do that will sometimes legitimately stop them being available for visible policing but the large differences between forces suggests some are giving taxpayers much better value for money.”