Police merger plans may be scrapped
CONTROVERSIAL plans that would see Herts, Beds and Essex constabularies join forces could be scrapped. New Home Secretary John Reid is understood to be ready to shelve the plans for merging forces after being warned it could mean the loss of 25,000 office
CONTROVERSIAL plans that would see Herts, Beds and Essex constabularies join forces could be scrapped.
New Home Secretary John Reid is understood to be ready to shelve the plans for merging forces after being warned it could mean the loss of 25,000 officers nationwide and cost £600m.
Under previous Home Secretary Charles Clarke, who was sacked two weeks ago, the Government had insisted the plans to merge forces would go ahead despite there being strong objections.
This week rumours rolled around Whitehall that Mr Reid had hinted to Home Office mandarins that a move to implement the mergers with the potential loss of so many officers and high costs would bring further criticism on a Government currently under fire from so many directions.
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It is understood Mr Reid will make his intentions clear and reveal a possible watering down of the plans when he addresses the Association of Chief Police Officers conference tonight (Thursday).
Meanwhile both Beds and Herts constabularies remain cautious at what might be the next move by the Government.
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Peter Conniff, chairman of the Bedfordshire Police Authority, said: "We would only be commenting on rumour and speculation until we have heard what John Reid has to say on the future of policing."
Hertfordshire Police Authority has reacted with equal caution saying it will comment after Mr Reid's speech.
This week the authority launched a campaign to try and gauge public feeling about the proposed merger with Beds and Essex.
Chairman of the authority Ian Laidlaw-Dickson said: "The authority has already said no to the original request for Hertfordshire to merge voluntarily with Bedfordshire and Essex because there are too many unanswered questions.
"The process so far has not provided sufficient time for a proper public debate. We are now launching a seven-week consultation campaign on the proposals to find out the views of the public and our stakeholders about what is important to them."
The public will be able to air their views by responding to advertisements that will appear across the county or by email at email@example.com