WEST Mercia Constabulary remains one of the top performing forces in the country as a result of its success in reducing crime, detecting crime and bringing offenders to justice, a joint report shows The force has maintained its reputation as one of the best forces in England and Wales, according to the combined results of the Police Performance Assessment Framework (PPAF).

The report looks at seven aspects of performance. The force has improved its performance in three of the seven areas and remained stable in the four remaining areas of policing. Performance is rated as good in six areas and fair in the seventh. There are no areas of poor performance.

Paul Deneen, chair of West Mercia Police Authority said: "These reports relate to the period before West Mercia Police Authority made a sizeable investment of £2.9 million, further boosting the force's capability and capacity to respond effectively to major and critical incidents, serious and organised crime, terrorism and cross border criminality.

"These are the protective services activities that the Home Office highlighted as critical in the recent force merger debate.

"We recognise the importance of these frequently less visible areas of policing in keeping local communities safe and believe that we have demonstrated our commitment to strengthening the force's capacity to deal with these issues through this investment, which will see about 100 extra police officer and staff posts filled by April 2008.

"That recruitment process is well under way and is already ahead of schedule.

"This investment will ensure that the local policing teams now being put in place in response to the Government's Police Reform programme can maintain their active and visible presence within local communities, tackling the problems that matter most to people and making a real difference to the quality of life in our force area."