WEST Mercia Police has announced it is withdrawing from the strategic link up with the Warwickshire force.
West Mercia’s PCC John Campion and Chief Constable Anthony Bangham made the announcement earlier to day (Tuesday, October 9) saying by breaking from Warwickshire Police they could ‘deliver more effective and efficient services for communities’, ensuring ‘the public got better value for money’.
Mr Campion said the decision had been ‘carefully considered with communities in mind’.
“How exactly this will look will be shaped over the next year, and this will be worked in detail, with our communities and workforce at the forefront of any decisions,” he said.
Mr Bangham added: “This is a positive start for a new chapter for West Mercia Police, opening up opportunities to deliver more efficient and effective policing services and providing the very best protection to our communities, with a greater focus and clarity at a local level.”
However the news was immediately condemned by Warwickshire Police and Crime Commissioner Philip Seccombe.
“Since I took office in May 2016, I have been strongly supportive of the alliance between Warwickshire Police and West Mercia Police, which has delivered considerable savings and operational benefits for both forces, receiving national acclaim in the process,” said Mr Seccombe.
“I am very surprised therefore by the decision by the West Mercia PCC and Chief Constable.
“This is a hugely disappointing development which I do not support.
“The implications of this decision are significant and I will be working with Chief Constable Martin Jelley to minimise any impact on our communities, partners and workforce.”
Mr Jelley added: “I am surprised and disappointed.
“This is clearly a decision which has been taken solely by West Mercia’s PCC and Chief Constable and one which myself and the Warwickshire PCC do not support.
“Our two forces entered into a strategic alliance in 2012 which has been recognised nationally for the extensive nature of its collaboration and has demonstrated significant benefits from shared working.
“In fact, it has allowed both forces to save more than £35million and maximise resources to frontline policing.
“Despite this announcement we are committed to ensuring the day-to-day operational focus of Warwickshire Police continues to be on protecting the public from harm and keeping our communities safe.”
Earlier this year Mr Campion succeeded in his takeover bid of both Hereford and Worcester Fire Authority and its sister group in Shropshire, bringing their functions under his remit.
A date of October 8, 2019 has been set for the two police forces to ‘divorce’.