POLICE chiefs in Warwickshire are weighing up the future following a shock announcement by colleagues in West Mercia to end a strategic alliance between the two forces.
The West Mercia Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) and the force’s chief constable have decided to withdraw from the arrangements currently in place with Warwickshire Police.
The alliance was established in 2012 as a way for the two forces to cut costs by more than £30 million, while also maintaining operational and organisational strength.
The six year long alliance will come to an end next October.
The West Mercia force say the decision has been made to deliver “more effective and efficient services to communities, and ensure the public get better value for money”.
It also said negotiations would continue over the next 12 months with Warwickshire Police to identify where “efficiencies may remain and be maximised” through a different shared service arrangement.
West Mercia PCC John Campion said: “This has been a carefully considered decision with communities in mind, and both the chief constable and I, are in agreement that this approach will enhance and improve the service moving forward.”
But police chiefs in Warwickshire made no secret of their shock and disappointment.
Warwickshire Police Ch Con Martin Jelley, said: “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.”
Warwickshire Police and Crime Commissioner Philip Seccombe was equally disappointed at the announcement.
He said: “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.
“I am very surprised therefore by the decision by the West Mercia PCC and chief constable to end the strategic collaboration between the two forces. 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. I want to assure the public that throughout this period, Martin and I are determined to ensure that Warwickshire Police continues to deliver a high-quality service to our public.”