Police send merger bill to Home Office

PUBLISHED: 12:34 07 September 2006 | UPDATED: 14:49 12 May 2010

A CLAIM has be sent to the Home Office for almost £200,000 to meet the costs of aborted police restructuring plans. Herts police are claiming £194,286 for the additional costs incurred from preparing for restructuring. Under the proposals Herts was earmar

A CLAIM has be sent to the Home Office for almost £200,000 to meet the costs of aborted police restructuring plans.

Herts police are claiming £194,286 for the additional costs incurred from preparing for restructuring.

Under the proposals Herts was earmarked to merge with Essex and Bedfordshire.

The scheme was unveiled by the then Home Secretary Charles Clarke, but then scrapped in July in the midst of growing opposition to the proposals.

Ian Laidlaw-Dickson, chairman of the Herts Police Authority, said he was "sad" that so much money and time had been spent on the project during recent months.

The police authority was always opposed to a voluntary merger, but said it would work with both Essex and Bedfordshire police had the restructuring become compulsory.

"We have calculated the additional costs which the police authority and the constabulary had to pay for work on the amalgamation proposals," he said.

He continued: "I am sad that so much time and money has been spent on this project."

Mr Laidlaw-Dickson said, however, that links had been established with Essex and Bedfordshire which could lead to improved policing "without the distraction" of merger proposals.

The Cambridgeshire Police Authority has claimed £240,000 to meet the costs of

planning the restructure with Norfolk and Suffolk.

Police authority chairman Michael Williamson said: "We have been clear from the outset that Home Office proposals were not the best way to meet the needs of the people of Cambridgeshire."

He said it was "a great shame" that money had been spent on work on the merger proposals.

"Our budget remains tight and it is essential that we are paid for these costs in full and we will be pursuing the Home Office to ensure that we are."

It has been estimated that the cost of the merger plans across the country will be about £11.5 million.

When the proposals were announced, Alan Gordon, the vice-chairman of the Police Federation, described them as "ill-conceived".

"Police authorities are now having to pay the cost when money could have been directed at front-line policing," he said.

The Home Office has said it is prepared to "make a contribution" towards the costs police incurred in preparing for the restructuring.

MERGER COSTS

Bedfordshire - £103,000

Cambridgeshire - £240,000

Essex - £166,000

Hertfordshire - £194,000

Norfolk - £125,000

Suffolk - £45,000

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