An agreement has been reached for West Mercia Police to continue to deliver IT services to Warwickshire Police.
The new deal replaces an 18 month agreement in place since the dissolution of the Alliance between the two forces. That agreement was due to finish in September, however the IT services are still to be fully separated.
This new agreement will see the end of shared services. Instead, West Mercia will host a range of IT services for Warwickshire Police on a further temporary basis. This will ensure key services in Warwickshire can be maintained until transition is completed.
Warwickshire Police and Crime Commissioner Philip Seccombe said: “Warwickshire Police has moved from a position where the vast majority of its services were delivered through collaborative arrangements with West Mercia to one where brand new services have been stood up in Warwickshire for all bar a number of key IT functions. This has been a huge achievement, particularly as it has in many cases involved re-establishing whole departments against the challenging backdrop of the pandemic.
“We have however always been clear that separating out the complex and heavily-integrated IT systems which underpinned the former Alliance was going to be a challenging process and one which would need time and detailed co-operation to achieve. Despite considerable progress, it has simply not been feasible to complete the programme within the original timeframe.
“It has therefore been necessary to agree these new arrangements to give the required time to complete that process in a safe and orderly manner. We remain fully committed to migrating away as soon as possible, so that both forces can benefit in full from the major investments they are making in new and modern IT infrastructure, enabling more efficient and effective delivery of services to the public.
“I would like to put on record my personal thanks to all the staff in both forces who have worked tirelessly to navigate this highly complex separation. In particular, I don’t underestimate the challenges faced by those within the shared IT services over the last weeks and months as they have kept essential services running while also recognising the extra work needed to support this new hosted arrangement. I have been impressed by the focus that has always been on putting the safety of the public first.”
West Mercia Police and Crime Commissioner John Campion said: “West Mercia has well laid plans in place to improve digital services for its police officers and the communities they serve. The need to extend our work with Warwickshire does limit our ability to deliver those improvements as planned. However, there is an element of wider public service which means this agreement is the right thing to do.
“I am clear that there cannot be further delays in transition to standalone services and I welcome the same commitment from colleagues in Warwickshire that transition will proceed as quickly as possible. It is now three years since notice was served to end the Alliance and West Mercia is fully ready to operate as a standalone force. Both parties need to be able to move forward positively and deliver the best possible services to our respective communities.”