Update on Police Force Merger Proposals

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Update on Police Force Merger Proposals

Gloucestershire Constabulary's Chief Constable, Dr Tim Brain, and Michael Browne, the Chairman of Gloucestershire Police Authority, have written to the new Home Secretary asking to meet with him to discuss the future of policing in Gloucestershire.

"We welcome the new Home Secretary," said Dr Brain.

"Obviously he is still settling in at the moment but we want him to be fully aware of the special circumstances that apply to policing in the South West as a whole, and to Gloucestershire in particular."

"The South West Region is 9,500 square miles in area, and parts of north Gloucestershire are nearer to Carlisle than they are to Cornwall. Mergers will be costly and disruptive, and we want to avoid those adverse consequences here."

"The Home office consultants and inspectorate team were here last week and we were able to present our case to them. The discussions were useful, though concerns remain that they may underestimate the set up and running costs of any new forces."

Dr Brain added, "We are still unclear of the timetable for a decision to be made in relation to force mergers. A few days ago it was hinted we could hear a decision this week, but that date has clearly slipped back."

Michael Browne said, "We have presented a strong case to continue as a stand alone force, but we recognise the value of co-operating more fully with our neighbours in Wiltshire and Dorset."

"Consequently we have developed a shared service option with these forces. It will be quicker and cheaper to agree and implement this than any of the merger options and we urge the new Home Secretary to give it full consideration."

"We remain extremely grateful for all the support the Constabulary has received from the communities of Gloucestershire."

Posted : 12/05/2006 08:16:07

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