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'Best ever' mutual aid offer to support summer games says force

A mutual aid call for 2,000 officers has been made to support this summer’s Commonwealth Games.

The force leading preparations for the Commonwealth Games has created a video on its mutual aid offer to boost requests to take part from officers.

A claim by West Midlands Police to be the best mutual aid experience ever has been made in a bid to entice officers to help deliver this summer’s biggest sporting event.

With just six months to go until the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, the force leading the event is hoping to sign up 2,000 officers to deliver public safety. 

It's even created a video with the University of Birmingham to make its pitch to officers.

West Midlands said it is working on the largest operation the force has ever undertaken – and is relying on other forces to help.

‘Op Unity’ will run from 28 July to 8 August at venues across the city – but it will coincide with the school holidays and follows the G7 Summit and COP26 conference which both pulled in thousands of officers.

The huge logistics operation has included plans to commandeer accommodation including the police training centre at Ryton.

Chief Inspector Lisa-Jayne Robson, who is in charge of the mutual aid operation for WMP, said: “As well as this being a once in a career opportunity to be involved with such an exciting international event, we also wanted to share how much work has gone into making sure that officers and staff that work on the Games have the best experience possible.”    

The event has been in planning since 2017 when an emergency host nation had to be found.

Durban, South Africa won the initial bid but it dropped out due to financial constraints and Birmingham became a late-substitute.

Following the decision there were major political rows over funding and whether venues could be prepared in time.

But a huge regeneration programme – which also set tough standards for sustainability – has ensured the event is on track. And new facilities, including an international standard aquatics centre, have been prepared in record time.

Now 72 countries are scheduled to take part and if COVID-19 has receded it will be the biggest international sporting event to benefit in 2022.

Key events include the baton procession which is making its way through Commonwealth countries and is currently crossing India.

WMP wants to ensure that it isn’t seen to drop the baton – or anything else – from start to finish.

Food and welfare plans are being agreed with Federation leaders.

And the video to sell the benefits is being shared on YouTube.

Chief Inspector Robson said: “It’s safe to say, if you come to WMP to work with us on the Commonwealth Games, that you will be looked after.  While the logistics are important, we will also have a team of people who will provide wellbeing support, so there will always be someone for colleagues to speak to if they have an issue.”

More than 6,000 athletes are set to take part – including Olympic champions – who are set to make it a huge sporting event.

Chief Inspector Robson said: “I’m going to stick my neck out and say, we’re aiming to make the mutual aid experience at Birmingham 2022 the best officers have experienced.  It’s because of the amount of work that the team have put in over the last four years that I feel confident in saying that."  

She added: "We cannot wait to welcome our colleagues to the West Mids and show them what we’re all about.”

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