Police outline plans to make county safer
POLICE have vowed to achieve a safer Hertfordshire" despite the largest organisational shake-up in 30 years. Herts Police Authority chiefs say they will try to provide better policing, as Home Secretary Charles Clarke is pushing through controversial mer
POLICE have vowed to "achieve a safer Hertfordshire" despite the largest organisational shake-up in 30 years. Herts Police Authority chiefs say they will try to provide better policing, as Home Secretary Charles Clarke is pushing through controversial merger plans. The promise came when the authority launched its annual policing plan for next year. Chief Constable Frank Whiteley said: "There are many challenges in the year ahead, including the Home Secretary's agenda for police force restructuring. "However, we are determined to do the best we can for the people of Herts, and will continue to build on the constabulary's previous success." The authority has identified five key priorities for the coming year: - Provide a citizen-focused police service - Reduce crime - Investigate crime - Provide assistance - Promote public safety Police authority chairman Ian Laidlow-Dickson said the force needed to take account of national priorities, but their focus would be on policing Herts. "The public told us they wanted the police to focus their efforts on preventing and detecting crime and bringing offenders to justice, but their number one priority was improving visible policing," he said. "We have included a range of targets aimed at achieving that." He said these included increasing the number of community support officers and the amount of time spent on crime prevention. Mr Whiteley said: "The policing plan will be used to drive forward service delivery. "We know that high visibility is a priority in the county, and officers and staff will continue to build on the constabulary's previous success. "We can only achieve a safer Herts by working together with local communities and our partners." - The police authority will be meeting tomorrow (Friday) to discuss its response to plans from the Home Office for Herts to merge with Bedfordshire and Essex police. Police chiefs from Herts have met Mr Clarke at Westminster to discuss the merger and explore "a mutually agreed approach". The Herts Police Authority said it was adamant that it did not want to see a merger with Essex, and has suggested that it and Bedfordshire create a new set up. The Cambridgeshire Police Authority was meeting today (Thursday) to discuss a response to Home Office plans which would see a merging with Norfolk and Suffolk. The suggestion has already been branded by authority chairman Michael Williamson "elaborate, expensive, and risky".