AN overall settlement has been reached between Warwickshire Police and West Mercia Police, following the termination of the alliance between the two forces.
West Mercia Police has agreed on a settlement for Warwickshire Police worth £10.77 million to cover the costs of separating the services the two forces had previously shared under the alliance agreement.
The majority of these services will have separated out of these arrangements by the beginning of April. However, further agreements have now also been reached for the forces to deliver four key services together to ensure a smooth transition and until such time as new collaborations or arrangements in the county are established.
The new collaboration agreements cover:
- Information Technology services
- Forensic Services
- Transactional Services, such as Human Resources and Payroll
- File storage facilities
These four new collaboration agreements cover the interim period of April 2020 to April 2021 and, if necessary, beyond. They take effect from April 1, 2020, when the Strategic Alliance will formally end.
After April 2021, Warwickshire Police will move to deliver IT and Transactional Services with West Midlands Police and discussions are continuing at pace with the force over the delivery of Forensic Services on a similar basis.
In the case of file storage facilities, Warwickshire Police has committed to buy a continued service hosted by West Mercia Police.
Warwickshire Police and Crime Commissioner Philip Seccombe said: “I am pleased that we have now been able to reach a settlement with West Mercia and have an agreed way forward which guarantees no disruption to the continuity of policing services in Warwickshire. During the current CoVID-19 public health emergency, it is important that both forces are in a position to focus fully on what is needed to support their local communities.
“In Warwickshire, we have already successfully rebuilt the vast majority of policing services within the county and these new agreements mean that we can now have certainty during the transition period for the four remaining shared business areas from April onwards.
“Ensuring public safety is not compromised with a smooth transition has always been our priority, so it is good news that we have now been able to find a mutually acceptable way forward.
“This agreement means that Warwickshire Police will receive a fair settlement which recognises the considerable costs that we have already had to bear in re-establishing services within the county since the alliance termination decision was made by West Mercia. This is in line with the provisions of the original Strategic Alliance Agreement but the settlement figure also alleviates the concerns expressed by West Mercia about the changing costs of the shared services which were largely based within their force area.
“In reaching this settlement we have been greatly assisted by an independent team of experts from the Home Office led by Sir Francis Habgood and I want to place on record my thanks to him for the contribution he and his team have made in bringing us to this conclusion.
“In what is an extremely challenging and uncertain time, it is helpful that my office and Warwickshire Police can draw a line under these negotiations and now focus fully on the vital work to keep our communities safe over the coming weeks, months and years with full clarity and in the knowledge that financial stability has been assured.”
Chief Constable Martin Jelley said: “I am pleased that these matters are now resolved and that West Mercia Police have settled their liabilities. We can now move forward, ensuring our full focus can be on providing the best and most efficient services for our communities.
“At a time when our efforts need to be on supporting the national strategy to address the CoVID-19 major health incident, the importance of local visible policing, offering community reassurance has never been greater.
“I would personally, on behalf of the force, like to thank our communities for their ongoing support throughout the last year. We are a police force, working with partners, with incredible officers and staff who are committed and dedicated to ensuring we continue to protect people from harm in Warwickshire and will do so for many years ahead.”