Police forces merge major units

Herts, Beds and Cambs police will increase collaboration next year to cut �millions off their running costs.

The decision by the three police authorities to combine their major crime, firearms, scientific services and professional standards units in early 2012 will save up to �3m a year across the forces, Herts Constabulary said.

The savings, part of a ‘strategic alliance’ between them to meet a 20 per cent reduction in government funding, will be made by cutting management and increasing purchasing power. They are also aimed at softening the blow of financial cuts on frontline policing.

David Lloyd, Hertfordshire Police Authority chairman, said it marks the start of an “ambitious” programme between the forces. “The police authority has always championed joint working with other police forces as well as our county partners. The strategic alliance is a key element of our approach for the future that will ensure efficient and effective delivery of services allowing resources to be devoted to priority areas.”

Herts police estimate a range of joint functions will save the three forces around �20m a year by 2015.

Chief Constable Andy Bliss welcomed the decision, adding that local policing will be unaffected. “The only areas of policing that will not be considered for joint working are local policing services, which need to be tailored to the priorities of the communities we serve and styles of delivery, and those policing functions which are best delivered in partnership with locally based agencies.”

A spokesman for Herts Police said details of job cuts could not be revealed until consultation with staff had been carried out, but attempts would be made to redeploy staff within the force where possible.