WARWICKSHIRE Police is pursuing costs from West Mercia Police, as discussions to end the strategic alliance between the two forces continue.
West Mercia Police announced last year it would end the alliance to deliver “more effective and efficient services to communities, and ensure the public get better value for money”.
In a joint statement issued by Warwickshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner Philip Seccombe and Deputy Chief Constable Richard Moore, the force said: “The alliance agreement is clear that the party which terminates the agreement is liable to pay the other party’s reasonable costs.
“Warwickshire is asking for West Mercia to honour its obligations and meet the costs that come as a consequence of its decision to terminate.
“This is fair and what the taxpayers of Warwickshire would expect us to pursue on their behalf.”
Days before the statement was released, West Mercia Police and Crime Commissioner John Campion told a meeting of the West Midlands Police and Crime Panel the two forces could temporarily extend their partnership beyond the October 8 deadline – depending on ‘a fair and reasonable and equitable cost settlement’.
He said: “We are supportive of offering those longer transition terms in a six-month and an 18-month new collaboration agreement, but that will be reliant on us settling the cost associated with the termination of the existing strategic alliance agreement.
“Without the settlement of that, there will be no future collaboration based on that longer-term transition.”
The Warwickshire Police statement added around 80 percent of the alliance shared services – such as criminal justice, specialist policing services and enabling and financial services – are currently based within West Mercia.
“We have been clear ever since West Mercia announced their decision to terminate our current collaborative working arrangements that it would take time to re-establish these functions in Warwickshire,” it said.
The statement added that Warwickshire Police would have over 970 officers by the end of the year thanks to new investment in recruitment, and will be approaching the largest officer numbers in the force’s 162-year history over the next three years.
The force added: “The Chief Constables of Warwickshire and West Mercia are in full support of achieving an amicable and negotiated separation which meets the needs of both forces.
“While we appreciate there remains considerable work to transition out of the current alliance arrangements with West Mercia, we are committed to continuing to deliver all services in a seamless manner and confident that Warwickshire Police will grow in strength, resulting in improved service delivery for the public.”
The alliance was established in 2012 as a way for the two forces to cut costs by more than £30 million, while also maintaining operational and organisational strength. It is due to come to an end in October.
The Observer has asked Warwickshire Police for the exact sum they are pursuing in costs from West Mercia Police, and whether that figure is in dispute.