20th Sep, 2019

Police fears as divorce between West Mercia and Warwickshire looms

FEARS have been voiced over the level of policing in Studley following the announcement that the Warwickshire and West Mercia forces are to end their strategic alliance.

The Warwickshire force is currently seeking views on proposals to increase the police share of council tax to fund more officers on the streets of the county.

However, District Councillor Hazel Wright (Lib Dem, Studley & Sambourne) fears that the village, so close to the Redditch border, will be the loser no matter what the result.

“The police are doing a difficult job but what we don’t get here is a police presence and to me that’s the worst aspect of modern policing,” she said.

“Time was when the local police officer would play football with the local youngsters to get their message across rather than end up chasing them up the street as they do now.

“In that way the officer provided a protective community blanket over Studley as he got to know the youngsters and they got to know him.”

And she said the ‘divorce’ of the two forces would undoubtedly have an impact.

“I do not see how you can take a service away, or part away and it’s not going to affect people – it’s inevitable,” said Coun Wright.

The forces’ merged services include firearms and police dog officers as well as IT, HR and communications. They also currently share the same control room and jointly cover a patch of 3,000 square miles.

Warwickshire Police and Crime Commissioner Philip Seccombe is asking the public for their views on plans to increase police numbers by up to 100, to meet rising demand and provide a better service to local communities.

However, he has not said if the additional officers, if approved, would be stationed in the north or the south of the county.

The proposals come as part of the draft budget for the 2019/20 financial year and would allow for officer numbers to be boosted and deliver improved capacity for urban and rural policing. This will build on last year’s police precept investment of 50 frontline police officer posts.

Residents can give their feedback online at www.warwickshire-pcc.gov.uk. The survey will be open until Thursday, January 24.

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