Police control centre to stay in Leek Wootton

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The police control centre at Leek Wootton near Kenilworth will be one of two new communication bases for the Warwickshire and West Mercia forces.

The forces are in a strategic alliance and the other operations and communication centre (OCC) will be in Worcester, while a control centre in Shrewsbury will close in 2017.

The forces have had to undergo a three-year programme to slash budgets by £30 million to meet Government spending cuts – seeing 156 fewer Warwickshire officers and 309 support staff since September 2010.

Now the forces have to find another £30 million of savings between 2015 and 2018.

Consultation have started with staff on how savings might affect them, including administration, finance and operational support roles, such as control room staff.

Senior officers have not revealed how if will affect staff, but is reported that Unison fears job cuts. Warwickshire Police has 573 police support staff, including the equivalent of 114 full-time jobs at the Leek Wootton OCC.

While there are 793 police officers and 94 PCSOs. In September 2010 there were 949 officers and 882 support staff.

Supt Gary Watson, of Warwickshire Police and West Mercia Police, said: “As with all public sector organisations the forces face new financial challenges over the next few years.

“ We are now looking at how we meet those challenges to 2018, and how we conduct policing in the most cost effective and efficient way.

“As we are in the initial stages of designing an operating model for the future, it is too early to say what the shape of the organisation will look like.”

The Courier was unable to get a comment from Unison.

n An independent report commissioned by both forces’ Police Crime Commissioners (PCCs)to review the strategic alliance has been completed this week by the Police Foundation. It concluded that the alliance is viewed as a great success by other forces, but it warned that in terms of cuts, the worst is yet to come. It also said that although Warwickshire’s PCC, Ron Ball, is adamant that the forces will not merge, the idea of a merger cannot be ruled out.