West Midlands Police

West Midlands Police
West Midlands Police
Abbreviation WMP
Logo of the West Midlands Police.
Motto Forward in Unity (crest) and Serving our communities, protecting them from harm (brand)
Agency overview
Formed 1 April 1974
Preceding agencies
Employees 14,120[1]
Volunteers 769[1]
Annual budget £521.8 million[1]
Legal personality Governmental: Government agency
Jurisdictional structure
Operations jurisdiction* Police area of West Midlands (county) in the country of England, UK
England Police Forces (West Midlands).svg
Map of West Midlands Police's jurisdiction.
Size 902 km²
Population 2.6 million
Legal jurisdiction England & Wales
Governing body West Midlands Police Authority
Constituting instrument Police Act 1996
General nature
Operational structure
Headquarters Birmingham
Constables 8,421 (of which 769 are special constables)[1]
Police Community Support Officers 748[1]
Agency executive Chris Sims QPM, Chief Constable
Parent agency Home Office
Child agency Central Motorway Police Group Central Counties Air Operations Unit
Local Policing Units 10
* Police area agency: Prescribed geographic area in the country, over which the agency has usual operational jurisdiction.

West Midlands Police is the territorial police force responsible for policing the metropolitan county of West Midlands in England.

Covering an area with nearly 2.6 million inhabitants, which includes the cities of Birmingham, Coventry, Wolverhampton and also the Black Country; the force is made up of 8,461 police officers, supported by 4,082 police staff, 769 special constables and 808 police community support officers. With 14,120 employees, this makes it the second-largest force in the country behind the Metropolitan Police.

West Midlands is a partner, alongside Staffordshire Police and West Mercia Police, in the Central Motorway Police Group.



The force was created on 1 April 1974, because of the Local Government Act 1972 which created the new West Midlands metropolitan county. It was formed by merging the Birmingham City Police, the earlier West Midlands Constabulary, and parts of Staffordshire County and Stoke-on-Trent Constabulary, Warwickshire and Coventry Constabulary and West Mercia Constabulary.

Under proposals announced by the then Home Secretary, Charles Clarke, on 6 February 2006, West Midlands Police would have merged with Staffordshire Police, West Mercia Constabulary and Warwickshire Constabulary to form a single strategic force for the West Midlands region.[2] This, along with a number of other mergers which would have cut the number of forces in England and Wales from 43 to 24, were abandoned in July 2006 after widespread opposition from police and the public.[3]

Because of the prisons' overcrowding crisis in Birmingham in October 2006 three dozen police cells are to be made available to house inmates in Birmingham to help ease congestion. (By contrast, one contemporary account reported, in 1833, that for days the city gaol had been entirely empty.[4]) Despite a dip in the number of prisoners that month, prisons in the region are close to capacity or already full. Between 32 and 44 cells were set aside at Steelhouse Lane police station, in Birmingham City Centre, in case of emergency. West Midlands Police has an established agreement with HM Prison Service to provide cells in the event they are needed.[5]

In October 2008, the Chief Constable Sir Paul Scott-Lee announced he would not be renewing his contract in May 2009, after seven years in the post. His replacement is Chris Sims.[6]

On taking office, the new Chief Constable announced that the force would be realigned to exist alongside council boundaries, abolishing the operational command units (OCUs) and reforming as Local Policing Units (LPUs). In April 2010, the force reorganised from 21 OCUs into ten new LPUs.[7]

There were also changes to the HQ departments, including the new Local Policing Department, the new Public Protection Department and Central CID (formerly Crime Support).

The aim is to move certain functions from local areas into the central departments - such as dealing with complex or serious crimes, along with finance, IT and administration tasks, so that the local policing units can concentrate on local policing issues.

These changes are also hoped to save around £50m, in order to cope with future pressures in funding.

There is also the long-term aim of reducing the number of Contact Management Centres from 10 (1 each for each LPU) to 1, covering the whole of the force.

Divisions and departments

The West Midlands Police helicopter, a Eurocopter EC135, in 2011

West Midlands Police is split into ten local policing units (LPUs). Each LPU is headed by a chief superintendent who is responsible for the overall policing and management of the area.

Each LPU has a number of dedicated Neighbourhood Policing teams. These cover a specific area and are headed by a sergeant with support from a number of police officers, PCSOs and sometimes specials. The neighbourhood teams organise regular meetings, so they can understand the issues that are important to the local community.

The neighbourhood sergeants report to a sector inspector.

The ten LPUs are:

  • Birmingham North (Sutton Coldfield & Erdington)
  • Birmingham West and Central (Ladywood & Perry Barr)
  • Birmingham South (Edgbaston, Selly Oak & Northfield)
  • Birmingham East (Hodge Hill, Yardley & Hall Green, Alum rock, washwood heath)
  • Coventry
  • Walsall
  • Wolverhampton
  • Sandwell
  • Solihull
  • Dudley

Officers killed in the line of duty

The Police Memorial Trust lists and commemorates all British police officers killed in the line of duty, and since its establishment in 1984 has erected over 38 memorials to some of those officers.

The following officers of West Midlands Police are listed by the Trust as having died attempting to prevent, stop or solve a crime, since the turn of the 20th century:[8]

  • DC Michael Swindells QGM, 2004 (fatally stabbed; posthumously awarded Queen's Gallantry Medal)
  • PC Malcolm Edward Walker, 2001 (fatally injured when his vehicle was struck during a police pursuit)
  • PC Anthony John Salt, 1989 (fatally injured when assaulted while on surveillance duty)
  • PC Gavin Richard Carlton, 1988 (shot)
  • PC Colin John Hall, 1987 (collapsed attending a disturbance and died)
  • PC Andrew Stephen Le Comte, 1984 (fell from a roof while searching for suspects)
  • PC David Christopher Green, 1975 (fatally stabbed during an arrest)
  • DS James Stanford QPM, 1965 (fatally stabbed; posthumously awarded Queen's Police Medal)
  • PC Charles William Sheppard, 1928 (beaten to death attending a disturbance)
  • PC Albert Willits, 1925 (shot dead attempting to arrest three men)
  • PC Charles Phillip Gunter, 1901 (fatally injured by thrown brick while attempting to disperse a disorderly crowd)

See also


External links

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