The Chief Constable and Police and Crime Commissioner for Warwickshire have welcomed Home Secretary Priti Patel’s direction requiring West Mercia Police and Warwickshire Police to continue their collaborative arrangements for a further six months.
In the direction made to the two forces yesterday (Tuesday October 8) under the Police Act 1996, the Home Secretary supported Warwickshire Police’s request for further time to resolve outstanding issues between the two forces, to ensure there is a smooth transition for both towards their post-alliance futures.
The Home Office will also provide support to the two forces to identify independent expertise to assess and agree the costs of termination and transition.
Joint services which had already been set up to operate on a standalone-basis by the original October 9 termination date will continue to revert to single-force operation in Warwickshire as planned.
The remaining joint services will continue under the Strategic Alliance Collaboration Agreement until the end of April 8, 2020 as per the Home Secretary’s direction, or by any earlier or subsequent separation dates mutually-agreed between the two forces.
Warwickshire Police’s Chief Constable Martin Jelley said: “I welcome the Home Secretary’s intervention which means our joint services with West Mercia will continue to keep communities safe while we have further discussions with our colleagues on a timetable for transition. It ensures that the public will see no disruption to the policing they receive in either force area and also provides additional clarity for our workforce, who have continued to operate at a very high level, despite the uncertainty of recent weeks.
“Our work will now focus on agreeing transition timescales for our other remaining joint services with West Mercia and I welcome the additional support we will have from the Home Office to achieve this.”
Warwickshire Police and Crime Commissioner Philip Seccombe added: “The six-month extension of the current collaboration agreement that has now been mandated by the Home Secretary will ensure that vital public services will continue unaffected while further discussions to provide a smooth exit take place.
“With the Home Secretary’s support we clearly now need to reset our negotiations with West Mercia and I look forward to having further talks with them, supported by experts from the Home Office. During these discussions I will continue to ensure that the best interests of the public of Warwickshire are served, to reach an agreement that is fair to all parties into the future.”