July 07, 2006

Council says local police too good to merge

Ripley Twon Council says their well performing police force shouldn't be penalised by being forced to merge, reports the Ripley & Heanor News.

The council discussed the proposed merger of Derbyshire Constabulary last week, it reports, and agreed that any force merger would be a bad move.

Council leader Cllr Geoff Carlile said that figures for Derbyshire over the last three years reveal a 21.4 per cent reduction in crime, with burglary figures being cut by over 50 per cent and vehicle crime being cut by over 41 per cent.

It was added that these reductions are much better than neighbouring police forces and the town council passed a resolution to congratulate the force on its achievement.

Comment - this report, and others noted on this blog, show the importance local authorities attach to the more day to day crimes. But that's not the area the mergers are designed to address!

Also in Derbyshire, the Police Authority chairman Janet Birkin said she was in an 'optimistic' mood after discussing the proposed merger with Policing Minister Tony McNulty, reports the Buxton Advertiser.
Mrs Birkin said the first meeting between police authority chairmen and the minister since a hold on the plans was announced had been very positive.

"There was a good rapport between all parties in the meeting and a common understanding that we need to concentrate on the outcomes — better policing — rather than getting constrained by a debate around structures," she said.

The chairmen will now discuss with their respective chief constables how to go about developing alternative proposals for further discussion.

Mrs Birkin said they were more confident that the Home Office recognised the need to give breathing space for the proposals to be developed and time to consult local people.

She added: "We recognise the need to change in order to make the force better able to meet the challenges of 21st century policing, but the proposal to merge, which the Government seemed intent on forcing through, is unworkable and not financially viable in its current form.

"This meeting clearly indicates that the Government now recognises this and we will now work hard at putting forward new proposals for further debate."
Will this be the way forward, with neighbouring forces combining their resources to deal with more serious crimes?

Meanwhile, Derbyshire is keeping up the pressure by continuing the public consultation.

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