Coventry & Warwickshire

Warwickshire and Coventry police force merger proposed

Warwickshire Police, one of the smallest forces in the country, could merge or collaborate with police in Coventry, a report has suggested.

Warwickshire Police Authority revealed the merger as a possibility as it looks at ways of restructuring its force.

The proposal emerged at a meeting on Wednesday where the force said it had to find £13.4m savings over four years.

Coventry currently comes under West Midlands Police. Its authority said it could not support the proposal.

'Welcome discussion'

In a statement, West Midlands Police Authority said it had not been consulted about the plans.

"We are aware of the challenges faced by Warwickshire, even ahead of those that we will all be facing as a consequence of the Comprehensive Spending Review later this autumn.

"We would welcome discussion with them about options for the future.

"However the authority could not support any proposal which would see any of the West Midlands metropolitan districts moving from the West Midlands force area.'

Warwickshire Police said the suggestion, by it police authority, was made in response to the government's paper, Policing in the 21st Century, sent out in July.

"We have a close working relationship with all neighbouring forces and recognise that the criminal market between Coventry and Warwickshire is very closely aligned," a spokesman said.

"A new force, collaborative arrangements or a merger to address this market are only suggestions at this time."

'Protect people'

As part of its savings, Warwickshire Police has agreed to reduce its number of senior managers from nine to seven.

The force will also restructure, going under two directorates - Operations and Resources - rather than the current four.

Chief Constable Keith Bristow said he was making the force's leadership and structure as lean as possible.

"In doing so, we must ensure that the resilience required to provide strong leadership to the force and protect people from harm remains effective."

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