Warwickshire and West Mercia forces to form 'alliance'

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The two police forces which cover Herefordshire, Worcestershire, Shropshire and Warwickshire have agreed to form a "strategic alliance".

The West Mercia and Warwickshire forces said agreed recommendations would enable them to meet the challenge of reducing policing budgets.

A West Mercia spokesperson said the framework had been signed off, but the detail was still to be worked out.

The forces will retain chief constables accountable to their authorities.

Force identities will also be retained within an alliance.

Policing services across the areas were to be delivered "more efficiently and effectively in the future" following the agreement, the two forces and authorities said.

The two authorities accepted professional recommendations of Warwickshire Chief Constable Keith Bristow and West Mercia Chief Constable-designate David Shaw "to deliver all policing services across both force areas".

They said recommendations agreed by the police authorities would enable both forces to "provide greater operational and organisational resilience".

'Detailed design'

Recommendations include a change to how forces were planning to deliver cuts in budget and the necessary legal agreements to enable officers and staff to operate across both force areas.

But both forces will keep their separate governance and accountability arrangements through their police authorities, policing budgets, assets and financial accounting arrangements, including independent financial advice.

The forces and authorities stressed local policing priorities agreed with communities and partners would "continue to be addressed".

Phil Robson, the chair of Warwickshire Police Authority, said: "There will be an increase in the resources available for patrol, response and protective services compared to if we were to continue to operate independently."

Chair of West Mercia Police Authority Sheila Blagg said: "There is a substantial amount of work now for both authorities and forces to agree the timetable for detailed design, planning and implementation of alliance change."

Having two assistant chief constables and a director across the alliance to support chief constables and deputy chief constables in each force was approved.

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