Police cashback plea

THE two police forces covering Comet country have both asked the Government for some cash back for their aborted and controversial merger plans. Both Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire constabularies say they have been forced to spend considerable amounts of

THE two police forces covering Comet country have both asked the Government for some cash back for their aborted and controversial merger plans.

Both Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire constabularies say they have been forced to spend considerable amounts of their ever-shrinking budgets during the negotiations forced on them by The Home Office and former Home Secretary Charles Clarke's attempts to bulldoze through the plan.

After Mr Clarke was removed from his seat at the Home Office during a ministerial purge by Prime Minister Tony Blair, the merger plans that involved forces throughout the country were quickly dumped.

The majority of police forces had vehemently objected to the plans including Herts and Beds who were told by the Home Office they would have to amalgamate with Essex.


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Now both Herts and Beds have both come up with huge figures and the bills have been sent to the Home Office. All forces had until last Thursday to submit their compensation claims.

By far the largest compensation claim is the one from Herts which was for £194,286.

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Chairman of Hertfordshire Police Authority Ian Laidlaw-Dickson said: "We have calculated the additional costs which we and the constabulary had to pay for work on the amalgamation proposals.

"I had to stress the word additional as not all the time that officers and our staff spent on amalgamation could be included in the claim to the Home Office.

"I am sad so much time and money has been spent on this project but we will continue to work with colleagues to improve policing in Hertfordshire without the distraction of amalgamation.

"We remain committed to providing the best possible police services for the people of Hertfordshire."

Bedfordshire has put in a claim for £103,000 saying £80,000 is classed as opportunity costs and £23,000 actual additional costs.

Peter Conniff, chairman of the Bedfordshire Police Authority said: "We have given the Home Office a fully itemised list of the total costs of the work on the proposals of the merger.

"I hope that the Association of Police Authorities will decide to take up the matter. The £80,000 opportunity cost equates to just under three front line police officers.

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