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Police force officer numbers set for 'seven-year high'

Local Democracy Reporting Service

Christian Barnett

The number of police officers working for the West Mercia force will reach a seven-year high by the end of the year, its police and crime commissioner (PCC) has pledged.

Police officers
Getty Images

This year, John Campion increased the police precept, the portion of council tax that goes to the local police force, to pay for 115 new officers.

He said the force was "well ahead" of recruiting that number this year and, on top of an extra 100 already promised, would bring the number of officers to 2,145, the most since 2012.

The figure includes an extra 10 officers for Evesham and Droitwich.

Video: What's the weekend weather got in store?

Rebecca Wood

BBC Midlands Today

It will be a cloudy night with some patchy rain and lows of 8C (46F).

Latest weather for the West Midlands

Rail timetable changes set to come in

Rail timetable changes are set to be introduced across the West Midlands from Sunday.

West Midlands Railway is bringing in a number of new services, including one extra train an hour between Shropshire and Birmingham on weekdays and Saturdays and more trains on Sundays, additional evening services from Worcester and Hereford to Birmingham and an extra evening service between Kidderminster and Worcester.

It is also adding more carriages to services between Coventry and London and new direct trains to destinations such as Liverpool, Stoke-on-Trent and Crewe.

West Midlands Railway train
West Midlands Railway

Chiltern Railways is creating a new direct service from Stratford-upon-Avon to London, doubling the number of weekday trains it runs to the capital.

Cross Country trains, which stop in Birmingham, have also made some changes to their timetable.

Video: Your 50-second weather forecast

Alex Hamilton

BBC Weather

It will be a cool day with lots of cloud and highs of 16C (61F).

Latest weather for the West Midlands

Video: What's the weather got in store?

Shefali Oza

BBC Midlands Today

It will be a cloudy night with some light showers and lows of 6C (43F).

Latest weather for the West Midlands

2019 European elections: How many new MEPs might you get?

BBC News

Half of the existing MEPs in the West Midlands are not contesting the upcoming European Parliament elections.

European parliament
Getty Images

There are 72 UK MEPs currently serving, with one seat vacant. Of those, 43 are seeking re-election and there are 548 other new candidates.

That means at least 30 of those elected from 23-26 May might either never take their seats or serve only a few months if the UK leaves the European Union by the end of October.

Here are some facts and figures about the choice voters have about who represents them in Brussels and Strasbourg.

Under-fire schools trust 'back on the right track'

The new chief executive of the Bishop Anthony Educational Trust says a recent Ofsted evaluation was "very disappointing", but he is in "absolutely no doubt" it is now moving in the right direction.

A letter from Ofsted particularly criticised the previous leadership of the trust, which runs 16 schools across Shropshire, Herefordshire and Worcestershire, and says it "has not been successful enough in improving the quality of education for pupils".

The trust was set up by the Diocese of Hereford and the Ofsted report was drawn up following a visit in March.

Child writing
Getty Images

Andrew Teale says since he was appointed CEO in January "we have started a process to transform this multi-academy trust and provide better support for our academies".

He added "I firmly believe that in many areas we are already on the right track and that over the next few months the exciting and ambitious plans we have for further change will ensure that the multi-academy trust will, once again, becomes the strong school leadership body that it should always have been.”

Schools trust has 'failed' head teachers

An education trust that runs 14 primary and two secondary schools in Shropshire, Herefordshire and Worcestershire has been heavily criticised by inspectors.

Ofsted said the Bishop Anthony Educational Trust had been "set up with good moral intentions and a clear purpose of meeting an educational need in the community" but had "failed".

Generic classroom
BBC

It said the weakest schools and lowest achieving pupils had been particularly let down, with three of the trust’s schools judged to require special measures in the most recent inspections and one requiring improvement.

A summary of the report said where there were improvements - 11 schools in the trust were judged good or outstanding - it was often due to head teachers or governors, "rather than the contribution and effectiveness of the trust".

Ofsted has made a number of recommendations, but welcomed the appointment of a new interim chief executive, who it said had a good understanding of the trust's weaknesses.

Pupils in Herefordshire, Shropshire and Worcestershire deserve to have as good an education as those in other parts of the country. The Bishop Anthony Educational Trust was set up to do just that, but we have found that its good intentions have not brought about the change that is needed to improve pupils’ experience."

James McNeillieOfsted

Video: Your 50-second weather forecast

Alex Hamilton

BBC Weather

After a fine start it will a dry sunny day with some cloud and highs of 17C (63F).

Latest weather for the West Midlands

More dry weather on the way tonight

Shefali Oza

BBC Midlands Today

The dry, fine weather's set to continue tonight in the West Midlands - here's the full forecast for the night and tomorrow:

Shefali Oza

To get a latest forecast for your area at any other time, head to the BBC Weather website.

Former PC found guilty of gross misconduct

A former West Mercia Police officer has been found guilty of gross misconduct while serving on the force.

In October, Laura Lawson admitted assaulting a 17-year-old boy while attending a disturbance in Rugby in 2017 and was given a three-month jail sentence, suspended for two years, at Worcester Crown Court.

At a hearing at the Hindlip headquarters yesterday, Lawson was found to have breached the standards of professional behaviour amounting to gross misconduct and was told she would have been sacked, had she not already resigned.

The West Mercia Head of Professional Standards, Supt Helena Bennett, said: "A serving police officer receiving a criminal conviction for assault brings discredit on the force and is completely unacceptable when we are responsible for protecting the public from harm."

Another dry, sunny day

Alex Hamilton

BBC Weather

Any early patches of mist should soon clear away leaving a dry and fine, sunny day.

Here's the full forecast for the West Midlands for Wednesday:

Alex Hamilton

You can get a latest forecast for your part of the region at any other time by going to the BBC Weather website.

Counties' four CCGs propose merger

BBC Hereford and Worcester

There are proposals to merge four clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) in two counties into just one group to save the local NHS £2m.

Doctor typing on keyboard
Seb_Ra/Getty Images

The CCGs covering Herefordshire and Worcestershire said they had been set a target by the NHS to cut running costs by 20%.

They said creating one group for both counties would achieve the saving and they're launching a consultation programme next month.

It's the second proposed merger of CCGs in the West Midlands this month, following plans in Shropshire.

CCGs replaced Primary Care Trusts in April 2013 as the NHS bodies responsible for the planning and commissioning of healthcare services locally.

Video: What's the weather got in store?

Rich Davis

BBC Weather presenter

It will be a dry night with mainly clear skies and lows of 3C (37F).

Latest weather for the West Midlands

Boy hit by ambulance responding to 999 call

A teenage boy suffered potentially serious injuries when he was hit by an ambulance responding to an emergency call.

Ambulance
BBC

It happened in Lichfield Street, Walsall, just after 17:30 on Monday.

The teenager was treated at the scene before being airlifted to Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham.

No-one in the ambulance was injured, though they were badly shaken.

The ambulance service will be working with collision investigators to establish what happened, the West Midlands trust said.

Video: Your 50-second weather forecast

Rich Davis

BBC Weather presenter

It will be a dry fine day with sunshine and highs of 19C (66F).

Latest weather for the West Midlands

Video: What's the weather got in store?

Rich Davis

BBC Weather presenter

It will be a dry night with largely clear skies and lows of 2C (36F).

Latest weather for the West Midlands

Video: Your 50-second weather forecast

Rich Davis

BBC Weather presenter

After a chilly start it will be a dry and fine day with warm sunshine and highs of 18C (43F).

Latest weather for the West Midlands

A wet start to the weekend

Rebecca Wood

BBC Midlands Today

Showers should ease overnight leaving some clear spells and lows of 5C (41F).

Some rain is likely to return tomorrow, but Sunday should be warmer, with temperatures up to 16C (61F) in parts of the West Midlands.

Forecast picture
BBC

Councillor resigns a week after being elected

Local Democracy Reporting Service

A Herefordshire county councillor has resigned just a week after being elected.

Hereford mayor Sue Boulter has not saidwhy she's decided to stand down as the ward member for Our County’s Whitecross

Sue Boulter
Hereford City Council

Herefordshire Council says there will be a by-election to fill the vacancy within the next 35 days.

Parternship promises more jobs and homes

Shropshire and Herefordshire could get 58,000 extra jobs over the next 20 years, along with 54,000 extra homes if the Marches Local Enterprise Partnership meets its targets.

The LEP says it is working on a 20 year plan which will also bring in new businesses and an extra £9bn to the economy.

Marches LEP sign
Marches Local Enterprise Partnership

The partnership says it will set out how it will achieve these targets when it publishes a full version of the plan.

Video: Your 50-second weather forecast

Alex Hamilton

BBC Weather

It will be a mostly cloudy day with some patchy rain and highs of 14C (57F).

Latest weather for the West Midlands
Knife crime: Self-defence classes in Redditch schools
A self-defence instructor is visiting schools to teach teens how to spot scenarios before they escalate.

Video: What's the weather got in store?

Shefali Oza

BBC Midlands Today

It will be a cloudy night with some showers but turning drier with lows of 5C (41F).

Latest weather for the West Midlands

Flag competition 'overwhelmed' with the number of entries

The organisers of the competition to design a flag for Herefordshire say they've been "overwhelmed" by the number of entries.

The Herefordshire Cultural Partnership says 675 possible designs have been submitted, including one from Chile, and a panel of judges will now draw up a shortlist of entries.

Hereford
Google

The shortlist will then be voted on by Herefordshire residents, with the winning flag due to be revealed this autumn.

Video: Your 50-second weather forecast

Alex Hamilton

BBC Weather

It will be a cloudy day with showers and top temperatures of 13C (55F).

Latest weather for the West Midlands

Showers tonight in your weather forecast

Shefali Oza

BBC Midlands Today

Cloudy at times tonight and a scattering of showers forecast, Here's the full weather forecast for the West Midlands:

Shefali Oza

You can get a latest forecast for your area at any other time by heading to the BBC Weather website.

Independents look to take control of council

Local Democracy Reporting Service

The Independent group on Herefordshire Council is in talks with other parties in the hope of forming a coalition administration.

The party, led by councillor Bob Matthews, is the largest at the council after winning 16 seats in last week's elections.

Herefordshire Council
Google

The Independent group could form a coalition of 31 councillors with their two Herefordshire Alliance partners - It’s Our County and the Greens.

An agreement with the Conservatives seems unlikely due to differences over policy, in particular, on where the proposed Hereford bypass should go.

Wet start to Wednesday's weather

Sara Blizzard

BBC Weather

Cloudy this morning with spells of rain - here's the rest of today's weather forecast for the West Midlands:

Sara Blizzard

If you want to get a forecast for your area at any other time, head to the BBC Weather website.

Deadline looms for European election registration

The deadline to register to vote in the European elections is midnight tonight.

Theresa May said the UK would not have to take part if MPs agreed a Brexit plan first, but the government has said "regrettably" it is "not going to be possible to finish that process" before the date the UK legally has to take part.

If you are not already registered to vote, you can do so via the government website

View more on twitter

Video: What's the weather got in store?

Rich Davis

BBC Weather presenter

It will be a wet and rainy night with brisk winds and lows of 6C (43F).

Latest weather for the West Midlands

'National and local issues on people's minds'

Frustrations over Brexit played a big part in Herefordshire, according to one of 26 Independent councilors - now the largest group on the unitary authority.

The Conservatives lost 15 of their 28 seats on Herefordshire Council, with gains for the Lib Dems, Greens and Independents.

Independent Peter Jinman said Brexit was often the first thing on people's minds he found during campaigning - although local issues such as congestion or the bypass usually followed.

Independents hold most seats on Herefordshire Council

Herefordshire Independents are now the largest party on the unitary authority, holding 18 seats.

The Conservatives have lost control after being in power for 12 years, and now hold just 13 seats - 15 fewer than in 2015.

Graphic
BBC

Conservatives lose control of Herefordshire Council

The Conservatives have lost control of Herefordshire Council to no overall control.

The party lost 15 seats, with Labour gaining five and the Liberal Democrats four.

View more on twitter

Independents picking up seats in Herefordshire

Independent parties in Herefordshire have picked up seats from other parties, BBC Hereford and Worcester's political reporter tweets.

The Conservatives only have a majority through the casting vote of the chairman.

View more on twitter