Police merger plans thrown into chaos

Plans to merge Herts and Beds police into one force have been thrown into disarray after a minister stepped in at the eleventh hour.

The police authorities of both constabularies were due to meet this morning to discuss a report which recommends a merger as the only way to meet a budget shortfall caused by swingeing Government cuts.

But yesterday policing minister Nick Herbert sent a letter to both chief constables advising the authorities to “explore further an option for deeper and more extensive collaboration before making any decisions regards consultation on merger”.

This throws into chaos carefully drawn up plans by the chief constables who explored three main options – two forms of collaboration and their favoured option of full merger.

Chairman of Hertfordshire Police Authority, Stuart Nagler, said he will now be tabling an emergency motion this morning to explore a high degree of collaboration.

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The minister’s comments come despite a report from Her Majesty’s Inspector, also received yesterday, which said there was a “properly substantiated and evidence based business case made out in support of merging the two forces.”

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