A Midlands police authority has unanimously rejected the home secretary’s plea for its force to volunteer to merge with three other constabularies.
West Mercia said there were too many unanswered questions about joining forces with the West Midlands, Staffordshire and Warwickshire forces, which would create the largest police force in England outside of London.
Paul Deneen, chair of West Mercia Police Authority, said: “I have huge concerns about the impact upon performance delivery and the disruption and distraction that any possible merger would cause.”
Charles Clarke, the home secretary, has told authorities and forces they have until 24 February to decide on a voluntary merger. If they refuse, there will be a further four-month consultation.
West Mercia chief constable Paul West also expressed concerns about the government’s financial estimates.
Clarke plans to cut the 42 regional forces in England and Wales down to 12.