Hertfordshire police merger halted

A PROPOSED merger between Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire police forces will not be going ahead just yet.

Plans to combine Hertfordshire Constabulary and Bedfordshire Police into a single force in order to bridge a �40m funding gap were discussed this morning (Friday) at a meeting of Hertfordshire Police Authority.

Representatives from the police authority and county councillors had arrived at County Hall in Hertford expecting to vote on whether or not to put merger plans out to public consultation.

But that changed when the counties’ two chief constables, Frank Whiteley and Gillian Parker, both received a letter from police minister Nick Herbert asking them to consider further the scope of a “deeper collaboration” between the two forces, rather than a full merger.

“I wonder what scope there is to look further at the potential for a deeper and more extensive collaboration between Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire forces,” Mr Herbert’s letter read.

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It led to police authority chairman Stuart Nagler proposing an emergency motion, instructing Chief Constable Frank Whiteley and authority chief executive Andrew White to look again at further collaboration.

But that was defeated in favour of a second, six-point motion proposed by County Council leader Robert Gordon, which as well as calling for further investigation into collaboration, also stated the authority’s preference to remain an independent police force.

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“I’m not yet convinced, and it will take a lot of convincing, that a merger and the sacrifice of police in Hertfordshire is a step that is necessary,” Cllr Gordon said.

Hertfordshire Constabulary will now re-examine the case for further collaboration, and have agreed to report back to the authority by October.

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