Value for money key in future collaborations, says West Mercia Police chief

West Mercia's chief constable has said he remains open to collaboration but says providing value for money must be the priority following a rancorous split between two forces.

West Mercia Police Chief Constable Anthony Bangham
West Mercia Police Chief Constable Anthony Bangham

West Mercia and Warwickshire police forces merged some services in 2013 only for West Mercia chiefs to pull out of the partnership last year.

The decision to break away was criticised by chiefs in Warwickshire.

The partnership, which included sharing firearms and police dog officers as well as IT, HR and communications teams, was viewed as innovative at the time but ended with disappointment on both sides.

Anthony Bangham, the Chief Constable of West Mercia Police, which covers Shropshire, Worcestershire and Herefordshire, said he would consider any future "collaborative opportunities" but only if they are right for the communities the force serves.

He was speaking after the head of the police watchdog, Sir Thomas Winsor, used the doomed union between the two forces as "evidence of what has not worked well" in his annual State of Policing report.

Mr Bangham said: "It has always been the ambition of West Mercia Police to ensure we deliver the most efficient and effective policing services for the communities of West Mercia.


“We do not believe the current strategic alliance arrangements achieve this and therefore I have taken action in order to deliver better policing across West Mercia.

“We also believe that the real strength in collaboration is around embracing the development of national systems and specialist capabilities, of which we are fully committed to supporting.

“We will be considering new collaborative opportunities but first and foremost we must deliver the most effective policing right across the three counties of West Mercia.”

Warwickshire Police Deputy Chief Constable Richard Moore said: “Since the announcement by West Mercia Police to terminate the strategic alliance we have carefully considered all of our available options.

“Our strategy for the future of Warwickshire Police now includes plans to re-establish some of the alliance services within the county and to develop a number of new collaborations for business support services and specialist operational capabilities. This model will provide the best balance between the control and direction of operational resources to address community priorities and the financial benefits associated with collaboration.

“We are fully confident that the new arrangements will deliver the best possible outcome for officers, staff, volunteers and most importantly our communities.”

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