Police forces agree to share services
PUBLISHED: 13:00 03 February 2015
TWO police forces may share more services and resources as a way to make savings.
Talks for a ‘strategic alliance’ between Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) and Chief Constables at Avon and Somerset Constabulary and Wiltshire Police began in December.
Bosses have already decided that specialist police resources and protective and corporate services will be shared.
The two forces have also already collaborated on a shared Major Crime Investigation team, Special Branch and a firearms training centre at Black Rock Quarry in Portishead.
However, Wiltshire PCC Angus Macpherson has said it is important to stress the plans were not for a ‘merger’ and each force would retain its own identity. Both forces would keep their PCCs and Chief Constables and neighbourhood and response policing would continue to be overseen locally.
Avon and Somerset PCC Sue Mountstevens said: “We’re very optimistic about finding ways of working more closely together in the future.
“We have a good track record with existing collaborations and there are clear benefits for both forces in pursuing further opportunities.”
Avon and Somerset Constabulary is one of the lowest-funded forces in the country by the Government and has been tasked with finding savings of around £42million.
It also expects further savings will need to be found by 2018/19.
But both forces hope they will be able to reduce the impact on frontline services by collaborating and working more together.
Mr Macpherson said: “It’s important to stress Wiltshire Police and Avon and Somerset police are not merging; both will retain their own leadership and identity. This strategic alliance would look at how we could share more of our resources, such as specialist police resources and office functions.
“Local policing – which we know is so important to our communities – would continue to be delivered locally in response to communities’ needs.
“Police budgets are in a very challenging state and in the coming years this collaboration would help find the savings that both forces need to make.
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