June 08, 2006

Surrey police authority call for public objections to merger plans

SurreyOnLine reports that Surrey Police Authority is calling members of the public to object to the proposed merger of Surrey and Sussex Police forces.
Surrey Police Authority recently rejected a proposal by the then Home Secretary Charles Clarke to merge voluntarily with Sussex Police, on the grounds of ongoing concerns about funding. The force has been under-funded for several years, with central Government's funding formula taking no account of Surrey's position bordering the Capital. Surrey is funded like a rural area despite being responsible for policing part of the busiest motorway in Europe and having two international airports at close proximity.

In addition, Surrey's domestic and non-domestic rate payers are paying over 60 per cent towards the cost of their policing - much higher than average - and in a merged structure, Surrey residents would continue paying more, but with less representation on the new strategic police authority because Surrey is smaller in area than Sussex.
Jim Smith chair of the Surrey Police Authority, said
"We cannot ignore the potential risks of merging, especially with no additional central Government funding to pay for it. We are extremely concerned that, without additional funding, there may be fewer police resources deployed in Surrey, which may damage neighbourhood policing. There will inevitably be pressure to transfer resources from Surrey to other higher crime areas.

"Provided we were better funded, we believe we could improve protective services in Surrey through collaboration and workforce modernisation without the cost of a merger. I am therefore urging people to object strongly to this proposed merger. We are committed to discharging our duty to provide a modern police service, which delivers an effective and efficient service to residents" he added.
They are hoping the public in Surrey will support their stance, by letter or by e-mail. Contact details are on the site.

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