The Government's proposed mergers of County police forces will damage the future of neighbourhood policing, says North Thanet's MP, Roger Gale.
Speaking in the Commons debate this (Wednesday) afternoon the MP said that the neighbourhood policing project was "the cornerstone in the fight against the anti-social behaviour, vandalism, graffiti and drunken violence that plague all communities".
"Senior police officers and police authority representatives agree that if time, money and effort are diverted to re-structure our police forces then the project will collapse. The police simply do not have the £600 million that the regionalisation of police forces will cost and there will be no money left to develop neighbourhood policing and related initiatives."
Commenting on the future of Kent police the MP added:
"The Chief Constable of Kent, Mike Fuller, and the Chairman of the police authority, Ann Barnes, are agreed that Kent should be allowed to remain a strategic and stand-alone force. Nor should we confuse necessary co-operation between forces, particularly at times of major incidents, with "federation" which the Government could use to bring about mergers by the back door."
Speaking after the debate Roger Gale added:
"The Government's proposals are ill thought through and un-costed. They are, I believe, based upon the continuing desire to bring about regional government without referenda or elections. The ambulance and Fire services are being "regionalised", the health authorities and education services will follow. We have to defend our County's police force or there is a very real danger that Kent County, as a local authority, will disappear"