20th Oct, 2019

Warwickshire Police hit out at West Mercia as force 'divorce' looms

Harry Leach 5th Oct, 2019 Updated: 7th Oct, 2019

THE ‘DIVORCE’ between West Mercia Police and Warwickshire Police was due to take place on Tuesday, October 9 but the Police and Crime Commissioner for Warwickshire has written to the Home Secretary calling for the partnership to continue.

In a statement Mr Seccombe and Chief Constable Martin Jelley said: “We have written to the Home Secretary to require West Mercia Police to continue to collaborate with Warwickshire Police across joint business areas which cannot be separated by the two forces by the original October 9 deadline imposed by West Mercia.

“We are saddened that it should have ever been necessary to make this request to the Home Secretary.

“Warwickshire’s position from the outset has been that it would be unreasonable and unacceptable for either force to withdraw from joint services in a situation where the other was not ready to transition to new arrangements or whereby separation was not possible in a safe and orderly way.”

They also criticised West Mercia over achieving an ‘amicable separation’.

A statement from West Mercia Police Chief Constable Anthony Bangham and Police and Crime Commissioner John Campion said: “The decision to end the Strategic Alliance with Warwickshire followed prolonged efforts to reform the arrangement. When it became clear that was not going to be possible, the only viable option available was to terminate.

“This decision was taken following detailed analysis of the implications for our communities and our police force.

“That analysis confirms quite clearly that the current arrangement is no longer in West Mercia’s interests.

“The Alliance did deliver some benefits in its early days. However, as the organisations reformed and evolved those benefits dried up for West Mercia and actively went into reverse.

“This position is supported by evidence from both internal and external financial scrutiny, police performance inspections and feedback from within the police force.

“The decision to end the Alliance is no reflection on the work of the officers and staff in either force.

“We fully acknowledge their commitment to keeping communities safe, regardless of force borders, and are grateful for their professionalism serving as part of the Alliance since 2012.”

They added the central issues with the alliance were to do with how it was set up seven years ago to make significant financial savings.

They said it was a ‘short-term solution’ and the situation had now shifted because they no longer faced reductions.

“Officer numbers have increased in West Mercia by 215 in the last year to ensure our force has the capacity to respond effectively to increases in demand that have been seen by police forces nationwide.”

 

 

 

 

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