End of Warwickshire and West Mercia police alliance criticised

Police officers Image copyright PA Media
Image caption Warwickshire and West Mercia Police formed an alliance in 2012

Concerns have been raised about West Mercia Police's decision to end its alliance with Warwickshire Police.

HM Inspector of Constabulary, Wendy Williams, said the decision "does not appear to have been based on a well-evidenced business case".

There is "no certainty" how Warwickshire will provide services without the support of West Mercia," she added.

West Mercia Police said the report findings are out of date.

Chief Constable Anthony Bangham hit back at the inspection, carried out by HM Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services.

"We are in a fundamentally different place from when the inspection was carried out," he said.

The alliance is due to end on 8 October.

Image caption The alliance between the forces is due to end on 8 October

The forces have been sharing operations, including ICT and forensics, since 2012 but West Mercia recently announced it is to withdraw from the alliance in a bid to provide the public with better value for money.

But Warwickshire has said the alliance had saved more than £35m since it came into force and it was "hugely disappointed" by the move.

About 80% of shared services are currently based in the West Mercia force area, which covers Shropshire, Herefordshire and Worcestershire.

These services would need to be reinstated in Warwickshire after the split, however new terms are yet to be agreed on how to terminate the alliance.

"We won't let services suffer while we work through negotiations," Chief Constable Martin Jelley, from the Warwickshire force, said.

Ms Williams also criticised the lack of public consultation on the decision.

Overall, the West Mercia force was rated 'requires improvement' across the board in the police watchdog's report, for its effectiveness reducing crime and keeping people safe, operating efficiently and providing sustainable services and the way it treats the public and its workforce.

Warwickshire was found to be performing well in some areas but needed to improve its efficiency.

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