The alliance: Delivering two police forces, one vision, one alliance
In 2012 Warwickshire Police and West Mercia Police formed a ground-breaking alliance. Not an easy step to take, but in the face of the decreasing budgets affecting all public services, it has allowed both forces to continue delivering the best possible service for the people who matter – those living in the communities they serve.
And it’s been nationally recognised and acclaimed as a success. Other forces around the country are looking to implement a similar model.
However, the pressure to become more efficient and effective remains. Warwickshire Police and West Mercia Police are both committed to achieving the highest levels of service delivery and to this end, are embedding continuous improvement and a commitment to deliver maximum value from investment into their shared DNA.
Changing demands for policing also indicate the need to stay a step ahead and to be able to respond flexibly to the evolving needs of communities. Improvements in technology provide more options than ever before to be able to prevent crime and respond quickly and effectively to incidents when they happen.
Partnerships are increasingly relevant and the Alliance operates within a complex partnership landscape, working with a range of organisations to deliver optimum outcomes: Ambulance Services, Fire & Rescue Services, Councils, Community Safety Partnerships, NHS Trusts, clinical commissioning groups, criminal justice partners, watch schemes, education professionals and the voluntary sector.
Five years into the alliance, Warwickshire Police and West Mercia Police are working together, sharing resources, expertise and skills. The alliance covers one of the largest policing areas in the country, serving communities around one and three quarter million people in over 3,500 square miles - over half a million citizens in Warwickshire and 1.2million in West Mercia.
Serving four counties - Herefordshire, Shropshire (including Telford and Wrekin), Warwickshire and Worcestershire - much of the area is rural but the alliance also polices a number of sizeable conurbations: Hereford, Kidderminster, Leamington, Nuneaton, Shrewsbury, Telford, Redditch, Rugby and Worcester. Policing is highly tailored to each community and the alliance responds to issues that affect deprived urban areas as well as rural communities.
- Warwickshire Police and West Mercia Police employ over 5,500 officers and staff. Just over 2,000 of these officers are based in West Mercia, supported by at least 200 Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs). Approximately 850 officers are based in Warwickshire, alongside 100 PCSOs;
- Volunteer Special Constables also make a valued contribution to frontline policing, with around 320 Special Constables in West Mercia and 180 in Warwickshire.
- A total of around 2,200 Police Staff and 150 Police Support Volunteers assist the organisation in protecting people from harm across the two forces;
- Every day, Warwickshire Police and West Mercia Police deal with around 1,150 incidents – over 420,000 a year.
The incidents the forces deal with include all those associated with traditional policing, such as violent crimes, burglaries, missing people and serious road traffic accidents. However, there is also an increased focus on less visible crime such as child sexual exploitation, honour-based violence, forced marriage and modern day slavery. Consequently, in addition to traditional policing activities, dedicated teams use the internet as a source of intelligence about sex offenders, child groomers and fraudsters, enabling the targeting of the most serious harm causers. Teams also work to prevent acts of terrorism, the radicalisation of young people and serious organised crime.
Prevention and protection is a critical requirement for the alliance to deliver and the organisations' future operating model will target resources, improve the gathering and use of intelligence and prioritise vulnerable people and places.
By 2020, the alliance will:
- Resolve as many calls as possible at first point of contact;
- Have adapted its model to best meet different local needs and make the greatest use of its resources;
- Have two Operations Communications Centres;
- Will have larger teams with greater spans of control, based locally – supported by a smaller number of centralised specialist units;
- A reduced number of supervisors and managers;
- Have prioritised resources to provide better protection to the most vulnerable;
- Will continue to have a policing model that’s supported by Special Constables and Police Support Volunteers.