Compensation demand follows police merger debacle
THE two police authorities covering Comet country are ready to send in claims for financial compensation for work on the aborted Government plan for police force mergers. Under former Home Secretary Charles Clarke, the Home Office had attempted to use Gov
THE two police authorities covering Comet country are ready to send in claims for financial compensation for work on the aborted Government plan for police force mergers.
Under former Home Secretary Charles Clarke, the Home Office had attempted to use Government muscle to insist the amalgamation of many police forces went ahead despite outright opposition to the plan.
After Mr Clarke lost his job, the amalgamation ideas were quickly shelved by new Home Secretary John Reid, who sensed he faced a rebellion from chief constables, including those from Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire.
Now the police authorities in both counties say they will seek compensation, which could run into thousands of pounds, for the time that was wasted on the amalgamation project.
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"We are assessing how much money we have spent preparing for the aborted force merger (of Herts, Beds and Essex) and will be submitting a claim to the Home Office," said Brenda Griffiths, vice chairman of Hertfordshire Police Authority.
Bedfordshire Police Authority also says it will be seeking similar compensation.
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It has also been revealed that police authorities and forces from six counties met recently to look at ways of improving policing across the eastern region in the wake of the proposed mergers being dropped.
Ms Griffiths added: "We will concentrate on opportunities for closer working on counter terrorism, serious and organised crime and support services.
"We will not be looking to set up a regional force to deliver all of the protective services.
"Our aim is to make sure the people of Hertfordshire get the best possible police services, whether it is tackling anti-social behaviour, organised drug trafficking or burglary.
"We will be looking at a wide range of options for joint working to achieve that whilst maintaining our neighbourhood policing strategy."
Peter Conniff, chairman of Bedfordshire Police Authority, said: "There was a very positive approach from all the chairs and chief constables at the meeting as we considered ways in which we can collaborate with neighbouring forces in order to develop better and smarter working practices.
"There was also an acceptance that collaboration need not be restricted to forces within the eastern region.