West Mercia Police force 'fully prepared for breakup'
West Mercia Police is fully prepared for the dissolution of its alliance with a neighbouring force, the commissioner has said.
But, nearly a year after John Campion announced the break-up of West Mercia’s resource-sharing deal, he says Warwickshire Police are asking for a “longer transition deal”.
The Conservative Police and Crime Commissioner said his force were “supportive” of offering one ahead of the current October 8 end date, but that would be “reliant on settling costs”.
A report before the Police and Crime Panel, which oversees Mr Campion’s role and his work, said “a variety of offers of collaboration have been made to Warwickshire”.
“Long-term they wish to stand alone,” it added, “but they have stated they need West Mercia assistance to move to that state”.
Mr Campion told the Police and Crime Panel: “I can reassure members that West Mercia are able to stand up their services and carry on providing important emergency services to our community following the cessation of the alliance, but we recognise that our alliance partner wants a longer transition period for a significant number of services because they have been unable to progress standing them alone during the nearly 12-month notice period that they have had.
“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, what figure that Warwickshire hold West Mercia accountable, there will be no future collaboration based on that longer-term transition.
“West Mercia remain committed to supporting our alliance partner if they require longer-term collaboration, but if they want collaboration agreement, we have been clear from day one that that has to come with a fair and reasonable and equitable cost settlement.”
Mr Campion has previously described the alliance – which his predecessor Bill Longmore brokered in 2012 – as “unfair” and “one-sided”, arguing that Warwickshire Police took more out of the arrangement than it put in.
“For example, I have just spent £1.47m of taxpayers’ money refurbishing forensics at Hindlip, which is currently an alliance function,” Mr Campion said.
“Warwickshire will have contributed nothing to that because capital projects are not part of that alliance.
“I remain committed, as I say earlier. We want a deal, but it will be only if we can make sure we are able to settle any costs to which Warwickshire hold us accountable for.”