A DECISION has been taken by the West Mercia Police and Crime Commissioner and Chief Constable to withdraw from the strategic alliance arrangements currently in place with Warwickshire Police, from October 8, 2019.
In June 2011, the Chief Constables of Warwickshire Police and West Mercia Police and their respective Police Authorities at that time, committed the two forces to delivering all policing services in alliance.
The alliance between the two forces was not a merger, and this is a message which has always been stolngly pushed by both police forces. Each force retained its own identity and had their own individual PCCs, Chief Constable and Deputy Chief Constables, they also produced separate financial accounts.
If you live in neighbouring Warwickshire however, you would have seen police vehicles with livery for both forces on the side, as in September 2013, operational officers and staff took up roles under a new single operational policing model.
The operational policing model saw resouces and specialist officers, such as firearms officers, dog support units and traffic officers, shared accross a much larger area. The forces share the same control room and jointly cover a patch of 3,000 square miles.
‘Back officer’ functions such as IT, human resources and corporate communications are also shared as part of the alliance.
The measures have apparently allowed both forces to save more than £35m and the Chief Constable of Warwickshire Police has said that this allowed both forces to maximise resources to frontline policing.
Speaking today in light of this announcement, Warwickshire Police Chief Constable Martin Jelley, said: “I am surprised and disappointed at having been served notice by the West Mercia PCC and Chief Constable terminating our strategic alliance arrangements. 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 £35m 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 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.”