June 08, 2006

Home Office hints at delay?

The Northern Echo suggests that police mergers may be delayed.
Police minister Tony McNulty told a delegation from Cleveland authority to expect a "decisive decision" [whatever that means] within days of the close of a four-month consultation on July 2.

Both Mr McNulty and his boss, Home Secretary John Reid, have already signalled they have abandoned attempts to force an order to merge through Parliament before the summer.

Therefore, Mr McNulty's comments were immediately seen as increasing the likelihood that a formal delay - perhaps of one year - will be announced next month....

Police minister Tony McNulty told a delegation from Cleveland authority to expect a "decisive decision" within days of the close of a four-month consultation on July 2.

Both Mr McNulty and his boss, Home Secretary John Reid, have already signalled they have abandoned attempts to force an order to merge through Parliament before the summer.

Therefore, Mr McNulty's comments were immediately seen as increasing the likelihood that a formal delay - perhaps of one year - will be announced next month.
The Home Office's present position is that Mr Reid believes there is still a need to create "strategic" forces, though it defies belief that he can have found time to examine this issue in depth. The Northern Echo notes that
Police forces which have volunteered to merge with their neighbours could be given priority to go ahead earlier than others in the first wave
and comments with an admirably straight face that
Dr Reid's priority in his new job is a root-and-branch overhaul of the immigration service following a succession of scandals - rather than a fight with chief constables.

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