June 22, 2006

A cool welcome for the delay in Lincolnshire

A delay in plans to merge Lincolnshire police has been welcomed. Lincolnshire would merge with Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire and Northamptonshire to form an East Midlands force, despite all five police authorities objecting to the move.

Many people believe it would leave rural communities with a reduced police presence while resources were pooled in inner city areas.

Spalding Today reports
Lincolnshire Police Authority clerk and treasurer Roger Buttery said he believes the delay hasn't revealed anything, particularly after the authority received a "vague" letter from the Government.

The authority originally rejected the plans and members' concerns about funding, accountability and how different county council precept levels would be balanced have not been addressed.

Mr Buttery told the Spalding Guardian: "We have written three letters to the Home Office and finally got a response.

"That is a fact to be welcomed but what it actually means 'I don't know'.

"The consultation period goes up to August 11 and we always knew the Home Secretary would not lay any orders to merge the five authorities by then because Parliament is not in session.

"We always assumed it would be extended to October but we have no idea if that is the case."

Insp Tony Smith, of Spalding police, said that the delay wouldn't affect the consultation process for most forces.

He said: "A lot of the work has already been undertaken by forming groups to appraise the situation and will continue to be done because if it's going to happen, it's going to happen.

"The work will be done throughout the county because police forces need to be talking about logistics, protocol and plans."

Mr Buttery said: "We have always advocated that it was too fast and we have still got a lot of unanswered questions".
More here.

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