Warwickshire Police will share fewer resources with West Mercia Police in next budget ahead of alliance split

Warwickshire and West Mercia Police's alliance will end in October next year
Warwickshire and West Mercia Police's alliance will end in October next year

Warwickshire Police will pay for more of its own resources instead of sharing them with its alliance partner West Mercia Police ahead of the forces' split next year.

The two forces, which currently share money for certain resources, will separate on Tuesday October 8, 2019 following West Mercia's shock decision to end the alliance in October 2018.

It was claimed sharing these funds saved the forces around £35 million. Warwickshire Police contributed to 31 per cent of the shared budget, with West Mercia providing the rest.

But in the next financial year, which starts in April 2019, the two forces will have completely separate budgets for 'local policing', which makes up around 55 per cent of the total budget.

The decision means the funding for neighbourhood policing, patrol officers, crime investigation and roads policing will now revert to each respective force's control from the new financial year onwards.

The two forces will continue to share money for Protective Services, which covers crime management, forensics, intelligence, major investigations, protecting vulnerable people and specialist operations, and Enabling Services, which covers the administrative side of the force.

The fate of these services after the split has not yet been decided.

Warwickshire Police's budget will be set in February next year before the financial year starts.

Warwickshire Police and Crime Commissioner Philip Seccombe claimed the agreement was 'good news' - despite previously saying the alliance had delivered 'considerable savings and operational benefits for both forces'.

He said: "It means that around 55 per cent of the policing budget reverts fully back into my control.

"This will allow me to ensure that the funding I am able to give to the Chief Constable for local policing across Warwickshire can be protected and will therefore be unaffected by the decision made by West Mercia to end our strategic alliance."

Warwickshire Police and Mr Seccombe are also looking at how Warwickshire Police will operate after the split from West Mercia.

This has included looking at options for Warwickshire Police to operate on a stand-alone basis, work with other forces and external organisations, to continue some new form of collaboration with West Mercia, or a combination of all of these options.

Warwickshire Police Chief Constable Martin Jelley insisted the split would not heavily affect policing in the county.

He said: "I am confident that local policing will remain largely unchanged following the end of the alliance.

"In particular, we have a great Safer Neighbourhood Team (SNT) structure here in Warwickshire and when I go out and about and meet with residents and our communities, they consistently tell me how valued our neighbourhood officers and PCSOs are.

"I firmly see our SNTs as the backbone of everything that we do and that's why I've always been committed to maintaining them. I see no reason for that to be any different going forward - they are very much here to stay."

Mr Jelley also said new police officers would help bolster Warwickshire Police after the split.

He added: "My shared ambition with the Commissioner is to grow our officer numbers over the next year so our Warwickshire communities are better protected. This will mean officer growth into local policing and safer neighbourhood teams.

"I am confident our towns and villages will see and feel a real difference as these new recruits come in."

This article has been corrected to reflect the fact that some resources will continue to be shared by Warwickshire and West Mercia Police when the budget is agreed.