Hertfordshire County Council backs police merger decision

COUNTY Councillors have welcomed the decision not to merge Hertfordshire police forces with Bedfordshire.

As the Welwyn Hatfield Times reported, the Hertfordshire Police Authority voted against a full merger with Bedfordshire Police as a solution to bridge the �40m funding gap between the two forces, during a meeting in Hertford.

Instead, the two forces will look into how to make greater savings through a deeper collaboration of resources.

At a county council meeting last week, councillors were united in the decision.

Council leader Robert Gordon, who tabled the police authority motion not to merge, said: “Our local police service must be clearly accountable to the people of Hertfordshire who it serves and who pay part of its cost through their council tax.

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We need to know that our Police Authority and Chief Constable are concentrating on the policing needs of Hertfordshire and its residents.

“Given the difficult financial conditions that all public services will face over the next few years, it is essential to achieve substantial savings through collaboration and joint working, but without the distraction and expense of structural merger and the reduction in local accountability this could bring.

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“The county council already works closely with the police but we are convinced there is potential to go much further, including joining some of the ‘back office’ functions that support every organisation.

“We look forward to pursuing discussions on these options for the benefit of both organisations and the communities we both serve.”

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