Merger between Herts and Beds police back on agenda

PUBLISHED: 09:32 10 August 2009 | UPDATED: 14:19 06 May 2010

A MERGER between Herts and Beds police forces could be on the cards - just three years after similar plans were scrapped. Preliminary work is being carried out to explore the possibility of forming a super-force across both counties. But any merger woul

A MERGER between Herts and Beds police forces could be on the cards - just three years after similar plans were scrapped.

Preliminary work is being carried out to explore the possibility of forming a 'super-force' across both counties.

But any merger would be subject to "extensive" public consultation.

A Government plan to merge Herts, Beds and Essex police forces was first mooted in 2005.

It met widespread opposition, and was scrapped by Home Secretary Charles Clarke in July 2006 - prompting the then Herts Police Authority chairman Ian Laidlaw-Dickson to say: "We have not been convinced that merging forces would provide the solution."

But since then, a range of joint units have been set up for Herts and Beds, including a major crime investigation team, the dog unit and firearms officers. And this week, a police spokesman confirmed a full-blown merger was being looked at.

She said: "Preliminary, high level work is being undertaken to explore the potential for a merger of Bedfordshire Police and Hertfordshire Constab-ulary.

"This is one of a number of areas of work being undertaken designed to ensure the level of service is maintained or, where possible, improved in the face of the need to deliver significant savings over the coming years."

She added: "It should be stressed any business case would need the support of both chief constables and agreement of both police authorities prior to consideration by the Home Office and, ultimately, Parliamentary legislation.

"During any process there would be extensive consultation with the workforce and the communities in both counties."

Currently, Herts Police employs 2,120 police officers and 1,959 staff, including PCSOs.

In Bedfordshire, there are 1,274 officers and 879 staff.

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