Warwickshire Police agrees £2m a year deal to access West Midlands force's forensic services - The Rugby Observer

Warwickshire Police agrees £2m a year deal to access West Midlands force's forensic services

Rugby Editorial 24th Mar, 2021   0

WARWICKSHIRE Police will pay the neighbouring West Midlands force £2m a year for forensic services.

The two forces agreed a collaboration deal giving Warwickshire access to West Midlands’ forensics technology, under which Warwickshire will also pay £779,000 in one-off costs.

The new agreement is in addition to a deal made last year – following the breakdown of Warwickshire’s alliance with West Mercia Police – under which Warwickshire and West Midlands will share services including payroll, systems supporting human resources, and business and IT services starting from next month.

The forces issued a joint statement which read: “West Midlands Police and Warwickshire Police have a strong operational partnership and we are delighted to now work together on delivering forensic services.

“Such regional collaborative working within this field complements the national direction of travel in this area. By sharing resources across our forces, this ensures a sensible approach to provide the best services to the public in the most efficient and effective way.”

West Midlands’ Labour Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) David Jamieson said: “This will ensure the people of Warwickshire get a best-in-class forensics service. Some people might call this a bail out; the reality is that Warwickshire are valued collaboration partners.

“It is unfortunate that Warwickshire has found itself in this position, but I am pleased that we have been able to help. We are ensuring that Warwickshire Police has a sustainable future following the collapse of its alliance with West Mercia.”

The deal came under fire from Warwickshire’s Labour candidate for PCC, who said the breakdown of the alliance with Conservative-run West Mercia had placed Warwickshire Police in an ‘unsustainable position with a need to forge new collaborations in order to maintain policing services’.

Ben Twomey said: “Poor planning by the current PCC has led to taxpayers in Warwickshire footing the bill for £2million a year to neighbouring West Midlands Police.

“These extra costs fall as he has put up local council tax for policing for the fourth year in a row.”

But Conservative PCC Philip Seccombe branded the comment ‘a piece of political scaremongering which is factually wrong in many respects’.

He said: “This deal is mutually agreed and is not as a result of poor planning or Warwickshire being in an unsustainable position.

“The costs are very similar to the current contribution to the West Mercia Alliance and are not an extra burden on Warwickshire’s tax payers.

“I have just set a balanced budget for Warwickshire Police for the next five years, and the force is now in a good financial position and will expand from 800 two years ago to 1,100 officers in 2022.”

West Midlands Police will provide forensic services to Warwickshire Police from September 2021.


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