Alliance split won’t harm local policing says commissioner

Warwickshire Police and Crime Commissioner Philip Seccombe.

Fears that local policing will be hit hard following the split between Warwickshire and West Mercia Police have been quashed by Warwickshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner.

Back in the autumn news emerged that the partnership alliance between the two forces, would come to an end.

The alliance was credited with allowing savings or around £35 million, money which provided a boost to frontline policing.

Both Warwickshire Police and Crime Commissioner Philip Seccombe and Martin Jelley Chief Constable of Warwickshire Police expressed shock and disappointment about the decision, taken by West Mercia Police.

Mr Seccombe moved to reassure residents this week, after an agreement was reached separating out each force’s local policing budgets, which were previously pooled together.

“This agreement is good news, as it means that around 55% of the policing budget reverts fully back into my control. This will allow me to ensure that the funding I am able to give to the Chief Constable for local policing across Warwickshire can be protected and will therefore be unaffected by the decision made by West Mercia to end our strategic alliance.” He said.

“I have been very clear from the very beginning of my term of office that I regard Safer Neighbourhood Teams as the bedrock of policing in Warwickshire and this will continue to be the case, whatever the future direction of the force may be once the alliance ends next October.

“I am pleased to have reached this early agreement with West Mercia, which will also protect the investments that have also been made elsewhere across local policing, including the increased numbers of patrol officers and the boosted investigative capacity that this year’s precept raise has funded.”

Chief Constable Martin Jelley added: “I am confident that local policing will remain largely unchanged following the end of the alliance. In particular we have a great Safer Neighbourhood Team structure here in Warwickshire and when I go out and about and meet with residents and our communities, they consistently tell me how valued our neighbourhood officers and PCSO’s are.

“I firmly see our SNTs as the backbone of everything that we do and that’s why I’ve always been committed to maintaining them. I see no reason for that to be any different going forward – they are very much here to stay.

“At present the force is actively recruiting new police officers, my shared ambition with the Commissioner is to grow our officer numbers over the next year so our Warwickshire communities are better protected. This will mean officer growth into local policing and safer neighbourhood teams. I am confident our towns and villages will see and feel a real difference as these new recruits come in.”

The alliance between the two forces will formally come to an end in October next year.