Police ‘merger’ claims rejected

Eric Wood OBE
Eric Wood OBE

One of the most powerful figures in policing in Warwickshire has rebutted claims that the county’s force will merge with a neighbouring constabulary.

The deputy police and crime commissioner for Warwickshire, Dr Eric Wood, has rejected the assertions made by the chairman of the West Mercia Police Federation that a merger between Warwickshire and West Mercia Police Forces is “inevitable”.

Dr Wood said: “Merger is not inevitable and will certainly not happen over the next two or three years, if ever.”

The two forces have formed an ‘alliance’, which police chiefs say is essential to cut costs while keeping crime low. Each force currently has its own chief constable and retains its own identity,

Last week, West Mercia Police Federation chairman Ken MacKaill said: “My own view is that in the future it is inevitable the two forces will have to merge completely.”

But Dr Wood insists Mr MacKaill is misguided and that the words have quite different meanings.

Dr Wood said: “The only connection between an alliance and a merger is the fact that both words are nouns.

“An alliance is a union for mutual benefit whereas a merger is a combination of two into one.

“We need to strengthen and deepen the alliance and not be distracted into a cul-de-sac of speculation about something that may never happen.

“The important issues of preventing crime and catching criminals together with a continued focus on careful budget management and retaining the front line are the issues that matter to the people we serve. The alliance is the best way to deliver this.”