Home Office plan costly
THE POLICE forces covering Comet country say they are disappointed to see compensation claims slashed by the Home Office. Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire constabularies had submitted substantial claims in an attempt to recover costs they had incurred durin
THE POLICE forces covering Comet country say they are disappointed to see compensation claims slashed by the Home Office.
Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire constabularies had submitted substantial claims in an attempt to recover costs they had incurred during the Government plan to merge police forces.
The blueprint formulated under former home secretary Charles Clarke to try and revolutionise policing in the UK was dumped by his successor John Reid in August.
Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire had been told by the Home Office they would have to merge with Essex.
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Hertfordshire will have to settle for £100,000 having claimed £194,000 while Bedfordshire got just £23,000 from their claim for £103,000.
Ian Laidlaw-Dickson, chairman of Hertfordshire Police Authority, said: "We are disappointed, although not surprised, at the Home Office response to our claim for compensation.
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"We took very seriously our responsibility to involve the people we represent in a debate that has dominated police business and the headlines since the proposals for larger strategic forces were made in September last year.
"Our claim of £194,000 was reasonable and justified and did not include any allowance for the hundreds of staff hours that were taken up with issues relating to merger proposals.
"We feel Hertfordshire has been penalised for the extensive efforts we made over the past year. But we will be putting the £100,000 back into policing in Hertfordshire and will continue to work with other forces and authorities, to make sure we get the best possible police service for everyone that lives, works and visits our county."
Peter Conniff, chairman of Bedfordshire Police Authority, said: "I am very disappointed the Home Office has decided to award Bedfordshire this small portion of our total claim.
"Since August, we have written two letters to the Home Office detailing our position on these costs and we will now write again expressing our dissatisfaction with the payment they have said they are awarding us.
"We submitted a very clear claim and I feel that we have been penalised for our commitment and hard work.
"I very much hope that we, and other authorities in a similar position, can negotiate an agreement on the outstanding amounts.