WEST Mercia Police will not be held to ransom in its divorce from the Warwickshire force.

That’s the strongly-worded message from West Mercia’s chief constable Anthony Bangham and police and crime commissioner John Campion.

The alliance was set up seven years ago from the need for both services to save money.

But West Mercia is no longer facing reductions to its service, and has in fact taken on 215 new officers in the last year.

The statement issued yesterday said: “Having overcome the immediate financial challenges of a few years ago, we have found ourselves stuck in a collaboration where Warwickshire contributes just 31 per cent of resources to the Alliance, but has a 50:50 say on governance, giving them a disproportionate influence on West Mercia’s policing decisions.

“This is not sustainable and, as the larger force, was always going to negatively and disproportionately impact West Mercia.”

“While we have been clear throughout that we would take an open, reasoned, pragmatic approach to negotiations, we have been unwilling to accept the wrong deal for our communities and our police force.

“We have made numerous offers to Warwickshire for continued collaboration.

“We have offered support on the specific areas where Warwickshire have requested it, on very reasonable terms. These offers have all been rejected.

“As things stand, negotiations between all parties have ended, without agreement. We now anticipate intervention from the Home Office

“While we would always seek to support another police force, we will not allow West Mercia to be held to ransom.

“We cannot simply accept the continuation of the current arrangement, which sees West Mercia significantly subsidising a neighbouring force, to the detriment of our police and our communities.”