West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner election

On 2nd May 2024, voters in the West Midlands will have their say on who represents them at Local council level; who will be the Mayor of the West Midlands and who will become the Police and Crime Commissioner.  In our series of election specials, we hear from the candidates who want your votes.

Simon Foster (Labour candidate)

Simon Foster

Labour Party candidate

I was elected Police and Crime Commissioner (‘PCC’) three years ago in May 2021. Since then, I have dedicated myself relentlessly to delivering justice, safety and security, for the people and communities that I have had the honour and privilege to represent.

I started my career in the law 44 years ago and I practised as a legal aid solicitor for 35 years, including 22 years as a partner in a law firm. I have lived, worked and brought my family up in the West Midlands over the previous 38 years.

Defending Your Rights

I took on the government and Mayor of the West Midlands and won a court battle, all the way to the Court of Appeal, to prevent the Mayor from abolishing your right to vote for a democratically elected and directly accountable PCC. I fought for and successfully defended, your democratic right to vote.

It is because I did that – you, your family, friends and the local community will have a vote on 2 May 2024, that the government and Mayor did not want you to have. I did that to fulfil my Manifesto pledge to the people of the West Midlands, the commitment in my Police and Crime Plan and to defend democracy, the rule of law and the rights of the people I represent.

I believe it is for the people of the West Midlands to decide for themselves who represents them as their PCC, not the government and not the Mayor. I did not believe it was right the Mayor should be able to appoint one of his friends to be PCC on the basis of political patronage, rather than the PCC being democratically elected and directly accountable to the people of the West Midlands.

I was also concerned that the possibility of a transfer of PCC powers to a Mayor, who represents the Conservative government, would mean more cuts, more chaos and more crime.

Tough Challenges

We have faced many tough challenges. The Conservative government recklessly cut 25% of our police officers, halved our Police Community Support Officers and the force is seriously under-funded. That was all a big mistake. It had and continues to have, a serious adverse impact on community policing and visibility, people’s experience and perception of crime, response times, the conduct of investigations, community safety, the rights and welfare of victims and the ability of West Midlands Police (‘WMP’) to prevent, tackle and reduce crime.

Together with the cuts imposed on our essential preventative public services, such as youth, mental health and drug and alcohol addiction services, and the mismanagement and neglect of our criminal justice system, it was entirely misconceived, counter-productive and a false economy.

It has left our overworked and underfunded police service, having to pick up the pieces and our communities have been left dealing with the damaging and destructive consequences. As a former legal aid solicitor of 35 years, I am well aware of how the Conservative government’s incompetent and reckless mismanagement, have undermined our communities and we have all been paying the price with less justice, safety and security.

Progress Against the Odds

However, despite these challenges, over the previous 3 years, we have made progress.

Additional Police Officers

We have recruited 1,451 additional police officers. That does not replace the 2,221 officers we lost, as a consequence of an ill-advised and misconceived police officer cuts programme, imposed by the Conservative government on WMP, but it is welcome. However, we still have about 800 fewer police officers and 500 fewer PCSOs than we had in 2010. There is no levelling up when it comes to our Police Force.

Rebuilding Community Policing  

In May 2021, I pledged 450 additional police officers to rebuild community policing. In fact, I have delivered on and exceeded that pledge, because 570 police officers have been allocated to community policing, to ensure an accessible, reassuring and visible presence, out on the streets, to keep people, families, businesses and local communities safe and secure.

Transforming 999 and 101

The 999 and 101 service has been transformed and is now one of the best in the country. When compared with 2022/23, the 2023/24 ten second 999 performance is up 26% and is 27 seconds quicker and the 3 minutes 101 service is up 46% and is 16 minutes quicker.

Improving Response Times

There have been significant improvements in emergency response times. When compared with 2022/23, the 2023/24 priority 1 incident median response times are now 1 minute and 32 seconds faster and priority 2 incident median response times are now 35 minutes and 42 second faster.

Violent Crime

Tackling violent crime is a top priority. WMP is delivering robust operational policing, including additional policing activity in violent crime hot spots, to deal with people who are intent on causing harm to others. I am also investing in prevention, early intervention and diversion. My Violence Reduction Partnership and I, are delivering extensive and wide-ranging programmes across the region, including education in schools, youth workers, weapons surrender bins and the Community Initiative to Reduce Violence.

Violence Against Women and Girls

Combatting violence against women and girls and domestic abuse is a top priority. I was the first PCC in the country to appoint a dedicated Victims Commissioner. I increased Independent Domestic Violence Advisors from 20 to 68 and Independent Sexual Violence Advisors from 4 to 31. I have increased the use by WMP of civil prevention orders. I have also secured investment in safer streets, an early awareness stalking intervention project and a domestic abuse perpetrator programme.

Cutting Crime

Arrests are up and more offenders are being brought to justice. Total police recorded crime in the West Midlands is down year on year by 10.2%. That includes reductions in residential burglary, robbery, theft from the person, theft of a motor vehicle, drug trafficking, drug possession, serious youth violence, gun crime, knife crime and neighbourhood crime.

According to the Office for National Statistics Crime Survey for England and Wales 2017 to 2023, since 2017, the number of people in the West Midlands saying they have recently been victims of crime has nearly halved.

Crime Prevention

I have been investing in crime prevention, because the prevention of crime will always be better than having to deal with the consequences of crime. I have secured an additional £46 million for investment in the prevention of crime, victim support and rehabilitation.

Victim Support

The rights and welfare of victims must be a top priority, throughout the entire spectrum of the criminal justice system. I have invested over £18 million, to ensure that the right advice, help and support is available to victims, in the right place and at the right time.

Road Crime

I am committed to tackling crime and ASB and reducing the number of people tragically and avoidably killed and seriously injured on our roads. Action I am taking includes, holding WMP to account, to take robust action against irresponsible and thoughtless road users, who endanger the lives of other people, as a consequence of their careless or reckless driving.

That includes supporting increased enforcement by average speed cameras; police operations to prevent dangerous, drink and drug driving; investing in mobile speed camera vans; speed guns for community speed watch; and improved third party dash cam reporting.

Plan of Action

We need to keep going and I have a plan of action for the West Midlands:

  • I will continue to rebuild community policing: recruiting an additional 650 officers and PCSOs, to ensure an accessible, reassuring and visible presence out on our streets.
  • I will tackle violent crime, with a particular focus on knife crime: including additional policing in violent crime hot spots, to ensure robust disruption and enforcement.
  • I will combat violence against women and girls: with targeted action to ensure their safety and access to support.
  • I will deliver justice for victims: making sure offenders are held to account and face the consequences of their crimes.
  • I will prioritise the rights and welfare of victims: to ensure the right advice, help and support, in the right place and at the right time.
  • I will invest in crime prevention and rehabilitation: because preventing crime will always be better than having to deal with its consequences.


For too long, we have been let down by chaotic, incompetent and reckless Conservative central government, but you have the power to change this.

By voting Labour on 2nd of May, I will continue to rebuild community policing, by recruiting 650 additional police officers and Police Community Support Officers; prevent, tackle and reduce crime; bring more offenders to justice; protect the rights and welfare of victims; and ensure that neighbourhood policing teams remain located within the communities that they serve.

Justice, safety and security, for the people and communities of the West Midlands, will always be my top priority.

I am Simon Foster and I am asking for your support.

About Simon Foster


Simon Foster is the current Police and Crime Commissioner for the West Midlands. He is the Labour candidate, in the election for Police and Crime Commissioner on 2 May 2024.


Simon commenced his career in the law 44 years ago. He practiced as a legal aid solicitor for 35 years. 


He has worked in a Community Law Centre and in private practice. He was a partner in a legal aid law firm for 22 years. 


He was elected as the Police and Crime Commissioner for the West Midlands in May 2021.


He has lived, worked and brought his family up in the West Midlands for the previous 38 years. 


Connect with Simon on x