PRAISE has been heaped on police officers and staff after an “extremely challenging” festive period.

8,203 calls were received by West Mercia call handlers and 2,086 crimes dealt with between December 22 and January 1, while 15 officers were assaulted.

Crimes dealt with included the murder of 51-year-old Julie Fox, who was found dead at her home in Carnforth Drive, Worcester, on December 27.

Superintendent Kevin Purcell, covering South Worcestershire, which includes Worcester, Droitwich and Evesham, said a “number of serious incidents” were dealt with by the constabulary.

“Throughout this period our officers have acted with professionalism and dedication,” he said.

“The New Year weekend was busy. We expected this and planned for it with extra officers on duty as part of our annual Christmas Presence campaign.”

Between 5pm on Friday, December 29 and 11.59pm on Monday, January 1, officers in South Worcestershire dealt with 168 crimes, 13 less than the same period 12 months ago.

However, violent crime had increased by 10 to 67, with overall calls received having also increased by 43 to 675.

In West Mercia, as a whole, 621 crimes were dealt with, up by 10, while 247 were violent, two more than 12 months ago.

“Fortunately, most people had a good time and looked after themselves and their friends,” continued Supt Purcell.

“I’d like to thank all our officers and staff and our colleagues in the other emergency services who worked over the festive period.

“While their friends and family were celebrating they were protecting people from harm. I’m sure local people will join with me in thanking them for their commitment.”

West Mercia Police and Crime Commissioner Jon Campion has also moved to thank all those who devoted their time to keeping our communities safe.

In Shrewsbury, volunteers from West Mercia Search and Rescue gave up their evenings to protect revellers from danger at the river and across Worcestershire, Herefordshire, Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin.

He also thanked members of the special constabulary, street pastors and other volunteers, who all played an important part in protecting the public.

Mr Campion said: “It’s important to take the time to thank those who have spent their Christmas break protecting and helping others.

“Whilst away from their own families, there were officers who were subjected to assaults,” he continued.

“This isn’t an acceptable part of the job, and my campaign encouraging people to get Behind the Badge and support our officers, continues in this new year.

“I am committed to ensuring our communities have the policing resources they need to keep them safe, secure and reassured throughout 2018, and in the future.”

Visit for more information on the Behind the Badge campaign.