Hertfordshire police gun licensing team to merge with Bedfordshire’s

A MERGER between gun-licensing units at Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire forces has been given the green light by Hertfordshire Police Authority, in a cost-cutting drive.

The specialist teams, which ensure firearms and explosives do not “fall into the wrong hands”, will come under the auspices of a single management structure in March.

The proposals have been backed by Bedfordshire Police Authority, paving the way for a joint administration to be established at one location.

The authority insists the new scheme “will bring together the staff and skills needed to effectively control the use of firearms and explosives across both counties”.

The merger is expected to make efficiency savings of �173,000 in the first year, which it is hoped will increase to nearly �200,000 in each of the following years.

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The link-up is the latest in a series of collaborations, which include joint dog, scientific services and major crime units.

And further joint ventures are also expected in the future, as austerity measures begin to bite. It has already been revealed the two forces are establishing a ‘Strategic Policing Alliance’ with Cambridgeshire.

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Stuart Nagler, chairman of Hertfordshire Police Authority, said: “Collaboration is bringing huge benefits at this challenging time.

“It will help us meet the �36m funding gap in Hertfordshire over the next four years and limit the impact of budget cuts on frontline policing for both our organisations.

“Over the past few years we have established a successful relationship with Bedfordshire, which has brought enormous benefits to both forces, not only in terms of savings but also in our resilience and capabilities. Both authorities are now looking forward to working with Cambridgeshire.”

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