THERE are no plans for extra police officers on the street this year but the current number will be protected, the region's police and crime commissioner has said.

John Campion, who has said the police's share of council tax will increase by 4 per cent from April, has vowed to protect the current number of frontline PCs and police community support officers (PCSOs) as part of his £211 million policing budget.

This means that whilst Mr Campion wants officer numbers to remain stable over the next year, we won’t be seeing more bobbies on the beat any time soon.

The commissioner has said he prefers to give officers the tools to perform their job more efficiently - hence his investments in technology.

“A greater proportion of resources will be focused in our communities and on our streets. That includes a commitment to protect our numbers of PCs and PCSOs,” he said.

“Whilst there was a reduction in police numbers long before I took office, the numbers of officers have picked back up and stabilised in the last few years, with almost 100 more officers today than we have four years ago, and more than a 10 per cent increase in the number of PCSOs than we had three years ago.”

Officers have been - and will continue to be - issued laptops and smart phones to allow them to report crime on the move.

This falls in line with Mr Campion's promise to deliver a 'modern and agile' police force and by giving officers computers, it reduces the need to travel between stations to document incidents and allows officers to be more present in their community.

The police’s share of council tax will now increase by nearly 4 per cent or £7.58 a year for a typical Band D home.

Rising inflation and the demand on police services is said to be behind the increase.

The increase comes after the Home Office announced in December that the Police and Crime Commissioner would be able to raise the police precept by a maximum of £12 a year for a Band D property without the need for a referendum.

Mr Campion has also vowed to cut police reserves funds by around £20 million in the next two years.

These announcements come at a time when recorded crime has risen by 13 per cent in West Mercia in 2017.

Overall crime has risen 13 per cent in West Mercia in 2017, with violent offences rising by 16 per cent and sexual offences rising by 23 per cent.

A total of 85,433 crimes were recorded in the year ending September 2017, up from 75,663 a year before.

Mr Campion said he was ‘reassured’ to see recorded crime on the increase as it showed communities have more confidence in the police.