Warwickshire Police commissioner: "county's force will be stronger once its alliance with West Mercia ends"

Warwickshire Police will be stronger once the alliance with West Mercia ends in just over 100 days time.

That is the message from Police and Crime Commissioner Philip Seccombe at a meeting of this week’s [THU] Warwickshire Police and Crime Panel.

Picture shows the student officers and PCSOs ready for inspection with Chief Constable Martin Jelley, Police and Crime Commissioner Philip Seccombe and Assistant Chief Constable Debbie Tedds.

Picture shows the student officers and PCSOs ready for inspection with Chief Constable Martin Jelley, Police and Crime Commissioner Philip Seccombe and Assistant Chief Constable Debbie Tedds.

The link with West Mercia - the police force which covers Worcestershire, Herefordshire and Shropshire - began in 2012 but will end on October 9, creating a number of issues for the bosses at Leek Wootton.

“It has presented a major challenge and rebuild,” Mr Seccombe explained. “Over 90 per cent of the money I collect from government and council tax payers went into the strategic alliance with West Mercia. It was a £300m organisation.

“I was against the termination of the alliance. It had saved in excess of £35m most of which were made in the first few years of the alliance and it certainly wasn’t perfect.

“But a lot of people put a lot of effort and hard work from both sides into building the alliance and we’re realising that as we unpick the alliance within what looks like a pretty tight timescale.

Picture shows student officers and PCSOs ready for inspection with Police and Crime Commissioner Philip Seccombe.

Picture shows student officers and PCSOs ready for inspection with Police and Crime Commissioner Philip Seccombe.

“I’m pressing for a smooth transition so that there is no effect on the communities here in Warwickshire. We have had the opportunity, which is helpful, to rebuild the force from the bottom upwards so it will be more effective and more responsive once the termination of the change has taken place but I’m very keen that the transition is orderly and smooth. It took two to three years to build this alliance and I think it will take two to three years to unpick it if I’m honest.”

Mr Seccombe explained that local policing had already been brought back to the county meaning that from the start of April, 55 per cent of the police budget was back in Warwickshire’s control.

And he said the ability to focus on local issues had to be a good thing for those living in the county.

Mr Seccombe added: “I’m confident that Warwickshire Police will actually emerge stronger, will be more self-reliant and resilient and will be able to respond quicker and better with more teams to specific problems here in Warwickshire.”