Warwickshire Police commissioner: We will pursue costs from West Merica Police as alliance comes to an end

Warwickshire Police's police and crime commissioner (PCC) said the force will pursue costs from West Mercia police as a strategic alliance formed in 2012 comes to an end.

Friday, 13th September 2019, 9:33 am
Updated Friday, 13th September 2019, 10:33 am
Warwickshire PCC Philip Seccombe.

In October last year, West Mercia Police announced that they would be ending an alliance with Warwickshire Police which had seen the forces share some resources.

At the time Warwickshire Police Chief Constable Martin Jelley expressed disappointment at the announcement, stating that the alliance had been recognised nationally and he believed it had saved the forces more than £35 million.

He said: "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."

But in December that year, Warwickshire PCC Philip Seccombe said the announcement was good news, stating that it would give more spending power back to Warwickshire Police.

And now, as the end of the alliance in October looms, Mr Seccombe has issued a full statement outlining the force's plans.

He said: "Discussions to finalise the transition out of the strategic alliance with West Mercia are ongoing but the Chief Constables of Warwickshire and West Mercia are in full support of achieving an amicable and negotiated separation which meets the needs of both forces.

"Local policing services, including our safer neighbourhood teams, patrol and response teams, are today already under the command and control of Warwickshire.

"Around 80 percent of the alliance shared services, such as criminal justice, specialist policing services and our enabling and financial services, are currently based within West Mercia.

"We have been clear ever since West Mercia announced their decision to terminate our current collaborative working arrangements that it would take time to re-establish these functions in Warwickshire.

"Equally there are also some services which West Mercia will need to re-establish as they are currently delivered from within Warwickshire.

"It has always been Warwickshire’s intention to move forward by delivering a smooth transition for both forces, which would ensure public services are protected and with minimal impact to our workforce.

"We continue to seek this through the current ongoing dialogue with West Mercia to agree transition arrangements.

"The alliance agreement is clear that the party which terminates the agreement is liable to pay the other party’s reasonable costs.

"On that basis, Warwickshire is asking for West Mercia to honour its obligations and meet the costs that come as a consequence of its decision to terminate.

"This is fair and what the taxpayers of Warwickshire would expect us to pursue on their behalf.

"The ending of the strategic alliance does present Warwickshire Police with an exciting opportunity to rebuild, to take advantage of the latest developments in technology and begin new collaborative arrangements to the benefit of the public of Warwickshire.

"The investments made in new officers over the past 18 months mean that by the end of the year we will have over 970 officers here in Warwickshire.

"Together with the additional police recruitment announced by the Government, over the next three years we will be approaching the largest officer numbers in the force’s long history.

"We are therefore very confident that Warwickshire residents will soon be able to see a positive visible difference in policing across the county.

"In addition, a significant amount of time and careful evaluation has been spent on ensuring that our future policing model is both fully sustainable and builds on the strengths the force has enjoyed across its 162-year history.

"Warwickshire Police has always been one of the smallest forces in the country, which gives us many advantages in being able to respond to local concerns quickly, while at the same time requiring us to work collaboratively with partners in order to deliver the best possible services to the public.

"Our new arrangements will give the best balance between having policing resources based in Warwickshire under the direction and control of the Chief Constable addressing the priorities our communities tell us are most important, alongside the financial benefits associated with collaboration.

"While we appreciate there remains considerable work to transition out of the current alliance arrangements with West Mercia, we are committed to continuing to deliver all services in a seamless manner and confident that Warwickshire Police will grow in strength, resulting in improved service delivery for the public."