A MULTI million pound ‘divorce settlement’ between West Mercia Police and a neighbouring force will be paid by autumn 2021 following further negotiations, a new report by the police and crime commissioner has revealed.

The force, which is responsible for policing in Worcestershire, finalised its split from Warwickshire Police in April after ending an almost eight-year resource-sharing partnership and eventually agreed to pay £10.5 million to go it alone.

The multi-million-pound settlement came after months of intense wrangling over compensation costs but the original deadline for payment was extended from three to 16 months following further discussions, according to the report.

The annual report by West Mercia Police and Crime Commissioner John Campion, due to be discussed by the West Mercia Police and Crime Panel at a meeting on Monday (June 15), said the £10.5 million was less than what Warwickshire Police had originally demanded and the deadline extension, achieved through further negotiations between the two forces, was “further minimising the financial impact.”

The report goes on to say that the alliance delivered the predicted savings early on, but costs disproportionately fell on West Mercia while Warwickshire rejected attempts to ‘reform’ the partnership.

“The agreement committed West Mercia to resourcing 69 per cent of the alliance’s staff and Warwickshire 31 per cent,” it said.

“However, in spite of the resourcing commitments, each force had a 50:50 say in governance.

“Initial reports of the partnership delivering in excess of £35 million in savings gradually became less and less relevant as these savings were either reversed over time, or were delivered disproportionately by West Mercia.”

Mr Campion announced his decision to pull West Mercia out of the alliance in October 2018, sparking a negotiation period which came to an end when a settlement was reached in April.

The report said the £10.5 million figure would be a “necessary investment” and “almost all” of the force’s £235 million annual budget was “now fully disaggregated from the alliance agreement and focussed on West Mercia’s communities and priorities.”

Collaboration between the two forces will continue in some areas including IT, transactional support and forensics services which will be provided through 18-month deals.

An “open-ended” file storage agreement also remains in place.