Lib Dems oppose Police force merger
Devon and Cornwall's eight Liberal Democrat MPs have today joined forces to demand that Devon & Cornwall Constabulary be recognised as a "strategic force" by the Home Secretary, and so avoid forced merger with a neighbouring police force.
Home Secretary Charles Clarke is considering a report about police structures, which says that some forces lack the critical mass needed to meet modern demands ? especially the terrorist threat.
Police forces and authorities have until the end of this month to make proposals for mergers within their regions, with the aim being to create forces with at least 4,000 officers and 6,000 total staff (including roughly 2,000 support staff).
NICK HARVEY, MP for North Devon, said:
"By next March, Devon & Cornwall will have 3,500 officers and 2,200 support staff, bringing us near to these thresholds. Given the vast geographical area already covered, a merger with either Dorset or Somerset & Avon would create a huge scattered force more remote from the communities it serves and unaccountable to them."
"This is all happening at break-neck speed with little discussion in Parliament or in the two counties."
ANDREW GEORGE, MP for St Ives, said:
"This is part of a general Whitehall drive to centralize essential public services away from local areas. The terrorist threat is not part of every-day policing in Cornwall and Devon and is no reason for such radical change. Some sort of strategic national police response network for terrorism would be a better solution than creating huge and clumsy forces to undertake normal policing."