Staffordshire police force may team up with rural neighbours

Staffordshire | News | Published:

Staffordshire Police could snub the neighbouring West Midlands force and instead share services with a more similar rural force, according to the county's police and crime commissioner.

West Midlands hoped to combine its armed response teams, dog support and training as well as tactical planning and road policing with those at Staffordshire Police.

Bob Jones, the commissioner for the West Midlands, felt that proposal – which Staffordshire backed out of in March – could be revived after he saw the fallout of the Woolwich terror attack.

But Mr Jones' Staffordshire counterpart Matthew Ellis said he was instead investigating whether it was more appropriate to partner with Derby or Cheshire instead.

"I will do whatever is best for Staffordshire in terms of finding the best fit and where we might get better value for money in procurement and purchasing for example.

"There's other collaboration that could be pursued. I am looking outside the West Midlands perhaps to Derby and Cheshire." West Midlands commissioner Mr Jones had hoped the proposal with Staffordshire could be resurrected as he said it would allow a better response to major incidents like the killing of Drummer Lee Rigby on May 22 in Woolwich.

Mr Ellis however said Woolwich exposed that police needed to share intelligence more effectively with other forces, rather than combine firearms units.

He added: "Let's be clear, there are already agreements in place for cooperation of the two forces on firearms and other services. I think there is a public debate to be had on the idea of an officer of West Midlands Police commanding an officer from Staffordshire however.

"At the very least I would want to ask the public.

"I'm all for collaboration with another force if it's right for Staffordshire.

"The business case for the link with the West Midlands was not a sensible one however."

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