Independence vital for Warwickshire Police amid £33million cuts, says report

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Warwickshire Police must maintain its independence while working with a neighbouring force ahead of £33million in impending cuts, a report has found.

The findings were published in the annual Police and Crime report, which welcomed the ongoing merger of the force with West Mercia Police.

It is critical that Warwickshire Police retains its independence and identity

Cllr Dennis Harvey

Warwickshire Police and Crime Panel said the county needs to reap the benefits of the alliance, but retain its independence - assuring that these points will take priority in the year ahead.

The objective was outlined in the panel’s second annual report back in 2013.

Praising the strategic alliance, members also stressed the need for continued close monitoring of its work as a further £33million of savings to be made across the Warwickshire and West Mercia Alliance by 2020.

The 12-strong panel, for which Warwickshire County Council is host authority, is designed to advise, assist and hold to account Warwickshire Police and Crime Commissioner Ron Ball.

Panel chairman, Cllr Dennis Harvey said: “It is widely accepted that Warwickshire Police is in a stronger position with the alliance than it would have been on its own, given the significant reductions in policing budgets in recent years.

“However it is critical that Warwickshire Police retains its independence and identity and we want to remain assured that the arrangement continues to deliver value for the police service and residents of Warwickshire.”

The annual report outlined key achievements of the panel over the last year which include a full analysis and reappraisal of victim support in the county; heightened emphasis on prevention and education of child sexual exploitation; and ensuring that, as far as possible, savings demanded by central government do not detract from the service provided by the police.

Warwickshire county councillor, John Horner said: “As resources become increasingly stretched, the Commissioner will need to make increasingly difficult and potentially contentious decisions.

“It is important that the panel continues to seek assurances that decisions taken do not adversely impact Warwickshire’s most vulnerable residents and that Warwickshire Police remain sufficiently resourced to continue to effectively deliver policing services for all residents.”

Police and Crime Commissioner Ron Ball thanked the panel for its findings and commitment, stating: “Achieving better services for the public is a vital part of my role and the input of the Police and Crime Panel plays a vital part in my strategy going forward.”

Click here for more details on the panel’s work.