Police mergers a 'waste of money'

Friday, 14 July, 2006

A senior member of Suffolk Police Authority has criticised the Government this week, for wasting time, effort and money on an unwanted police merger.
The authority had unanimously opposed plans to merge the Suffolk force with Norfolk and Cambridgeshire.
This week, those plans looked set to be abandoned with Ken Jones, president of the Association of Chief Police Officers, quoted as saying: "The necessary financial support has not materialised and the mergers, including voluntary ones, will not take place."
However, David Wood, vice-chairman of Suffolk Police Authority, said they had been told unofficially that the police mergers were on hold- but voluntary mergers would go ahead.
"As nobody wants to merge, read into it what you will," said Mr Wood.
"There has been no Government statement to say that it has been aban-doned totally but I think it is disappearing rapidly into the long grass.
"We have always been a high-performing police force working on a relatively low budget - we just want to get on with the job that we are paid to do.
"This side-show has been a waste of our time, effort and money- when you start adding up the resources we have had to put into this, I would expect the bill to be quite significant," Mr Wood said.
David Ruffley, MP for Bury St Edmunds and Stowmarket, had also opposed the merger.
"This is a colossal back-down by a Government that is clearly floundering," he said. "The Government has displayed a simply astounding level of incompetence in their handling of these proposed mergers.
"While I am pleased that the Home Secretary has finally seen sense and called off these ill-conceived mergers, the question must be asked- how much taxpayers' money have they wasted?"