Hertfordshire police join forces with neighbours

MORE police services are set to be combined after three forces announced today (Tuesday) they want to work closer together.

Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire police have been running a number of joint units for years – although a full-blown merger was blocked earlier this year.

But now Cambridgeshire Constabulary have joined the party in a “strategic policing alliance”.

The three counties will now explore opportunities for joint working across its operational and organisational support functions and its protective services to build greater efficiency, effectiveness and resilience.

This formal ‘alliance’ will look to build on the existing Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire Joint Collaboration Programme which has, over recent years, seen the development of a wide range of joint functions – such as a major crime unit, firearms support, dogs, and a soon-to-be implemented combined ICT department.

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It is too early to say whether joint units would affect police staffing levels at any of the three forces.

But Stuart Nagler, chairman of Hertfordshire Police Authority, said the move would help protect frontline policing.

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He said: “In the current challenging economic climate, all three forces and police authorities are keen to explore ways in which frontline services can be protected whilst generating financial efficiencies.

“I warmly welcome Cambridgeshire Police Authority’s decision and look forward to working with our new partners.”

Chief Constable Frank Whiteley said: “This is a significant decision which will enable us to develop a range of more resilient and efficient protective services and business support functions.

“Our overarching objective is to ensure that each organisation can continue to deliver a good quality of policing service to their communities, while helping us to close the financial ‘gap’ that all three forces face.”

Any joint ventures proposed in the future will still need formal approval by each police authority before they can take place.

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