Monday, September 11, 2006

Police Merger Shambles - How many Coppers has it Cost?

How many policemen have the government's aborted police merger plan cost Kent?

That is the question being asked today by North Thanet's MP, Roger Gale.

The MP is writing to Kent's Chief Constable, Mike Fuller, to establish the true cost, to the County, of the time-wasting exercise that led to Kent being awarded status as a stand-alone strategic force before Charles Clark's proposed national merger scheme collapsed in disarray and was effectively abandoned by new Home Secretary John Reid.

"Thousands of hours of police administrative time was spent nationally preparing plans and figures for unwanted mergers" says the MP "and all of that time and effort cost energy and money that could and should have been spent on the fight against crime.

We are now left with the worst of all worlds: a huge bill and no progress. I want to know how much this has cost Kent and how much it has cost the country because I believe that the Home Secretary should be compelled to fund, out of his existing budget, the looses incurred by police forces around the United Kingdom."


Cllr David Green said...

There are a number of points about this, apart from the mind blowingly triviality of most of Roger Gales "initatives".
The first is that the Home Office is surely entitled to challenge every so often the efficiency of the arrangements for our Police Forces. Kent fought this one tooth and nail, partly to protect some highly paid top jobs, partly political to reinforce "Kent" as a entity and partly for genuine reasons. Evidence that there was a case to answer came when Fuller admitted that Thanet was loosing officers in order to reinforce the team that would deal with major incidents. It was precisely these incidents that a larger force could have handled. My information from local officers is that any major incident in Kent such as major robberies imediately depletes all the community officers from our streets.
Secondly, the Police forces that would have combined are now busily setting up "Liaison Units" to patch up the deficiencies that a combined force would have addressed.
The third point is that Kent has just undertaken a similar excercise internally resulting in the combination of Canterbury and Thanet forces. This is having far more effect locally, depleting Margate control centre, and moving police numbers from Thanet.

James Maskell said...

On the third point, I think we are all very much aware of that and for the first time I agree with that point. Lets not make agreeing a habit, eh Dave?

About the Liaison Units, are they being made by the free choice of the relevant police forces or is this something which the Home Office is telling them to do? I wonder how much it costs to set these up and whether it's meaning there are less police on the frontline dealing with crime. The public want police not pen-pushers.

James Maskell said...

It kills me to say it but I agree with the third point there. Best not make a habit of it though, eh Dave?

About the Liaison Units, did the Police forces have a free choice about these Liaison Units or were they told to do it by the Home Office? Further to the point, how much is it costing to set up these units, both in money and in manhours?

The public want police, not pen-pushers.

James Maskell said...

Hmmm. I didnt think the message got through the first time coz the connection gave way so sent it again from memory...seems I was wrong...

Anonymous said...

A local policeman told me this has cost us 17 officers moved to north Kent, if this is correct what chance will law abiding residents of Thanet have? It is time these cost cutting exercises were halted and we had more police "on the beat" not less! The new community officers confuse the matter and do not seem to improve it.

Anonymous said...

Why worry about the loss of real police officers with powers of immediate arrest? We are so lucky to have TDC looking after our cleanliness and our safety now. The 'Ezekielers' will be out and about during normal office hours to keep us safe.