WEST Mercia Police is to pay £10.5million in settlement costs following its split from Warwickshire Police.

The force announced this evening that it had reached an agreement with Warwickshire Police over future service provision and settlement costs - following termination of the £300m strategic policing alliance that had been in place since 2012.

West Mercia and Warwickshire had worked to resolve the issues of bringing the strategic alliance to an end since notice was served in October 2018 but when a mutual agreement could not be reached an independent team was brought in by the Home Office.

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Both forces have now agreed on a settlement figure for the 'divorce' of £10.5m as a full and final payment and an agreement has been reached that will see West Mercia providing transactional, forensic services and file storage on a service provider basis for 18 months so the two forces will continue to collaborate on IT services.

A spokesman for West Mercia Police said: "The new agreements to provide service and collaboration are at no cost to West Mercia as they are on a full cost recovery basis.

"By agreeing this deal, West Mercia Police has helped ensure that Warwickshire Police is sustainable."

In a statement the force said the £10.5million settlement figure was "lower than was recommended by the Home Office’s independent body and significantly lower than the amount requested by Warwickshire" and the spokesman added: "As part of exiting a £300m policing alliance, this settlement is good value for money for the communities of West Mercia and will pay for itself in short order.

"It will also be paid in instalments over two financial years from reserves and efficiencies.

"Ending the alliance comes at a short term financial cost but enables our police force to fully utilise its resources, keeping the communities of West Mercia safe and unlocking the massive potential to deliver improvements in efficiency and effectiveness.

"It is vital that West Mercia Police is able to respond to the challenges and demand, which couldn’t be more important right now in the current climate."

Police and Crime Commissioner John Campion said: “The agreement we have reached is a good deal for the communities of West Mercia.

"By finally bringing the inefficient and unfair policing alliance to an end, West Mercia is now able to ensure that their resources are fully focused on the communities they serve.”

The Police Inspectors Forum tweeted: "That’s an awful lot of West Mercia residents Council tax payers money that’s been wasted. 

"Who will be held to account?"