June 19, 2006

More criticism of Labour MP for supporting merger

We saw how High Peak MP Tom Levitt had come under fire for supporting the merger proposal. Now The Buxton Advertiser has reported more criticism of him.
High Peak MP Tom Levitt has been criticised for toeing the party line and not representing his constituents over plans to merge police forces in the East Midlands.

It follows a letter from the Labour MP in which he states his belief that it was now "highly likely" a five-force regional merger would go ahead.

The Home Office want to merge Derbyshire Constabulary with forces in Lincolnshire, Leicestershire, Nottinghamshire and Northamptonshire, despite increasing local opposition.

Speaking at a meeting of Hayfield Parish Council last week, Cllr Kathleen Waterhouse said: "I know MPs always go along with their party, but they are there to represent the people and he is not doing that.

"We are getting to a point in this area now where there have been significant improvements in policing. If we have something that is working, why bother changing it?"

Questions were also asked at the meeting as to what representation the High Peak would have on an East Midlands police body.
Interestingly, another speaker said it was the wrong merger that was being proposed.
"How Tom Levitt can think it is a good idea to tie us in with Lincolnshire and Leicestershire is beyond belief.

"You could see sense in putting us in with Greater Manchester because a lot of the criminals we get seem to come from that area."
This echoes comments by north Wales police (in the early days), and in Hampshire/Dorset, that mergers being proposed reflected government Regional boundaries (for no stated reason) rather than police forces' operational experience.

Hopefully this growing criticism will discourage other Labour backbenchers from following the government line uncritically - those who are scared of their Whips can cling for comfort to dissenting MPs such as Ann Cryer and John Grogan.

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