The PSAEW has welcomed the announcement by Dorset Police and Devon and Cornwall Police of the intention to explore a possible merger.
The announcement came on the final day of the Association’s annual conference, where the issue of the 43-force structure of policing in England and Wales was frequently raised.
Responding to a question about structures, Policing Minister Nick Hurd MP told conference it would be “irresponsible” for the Home Office not to listen to strong messages from the service, and that if a “good case” was made for “rationalisation” the Home Office would support it.
President Gavin Thomas said:
“My Association has long been saying that the structure of policing is no longer suitable. I said in my speech to conference and the Policing Minister that the 43-force model is significantly hindering how the service address the type of challenges that make up much of 21st century demand.
“These are crimes that do not respect force boundaries, like internet-enabled fraud, organised crime, online child sexual exploitation and international terrorism.
“Collaborations and alliances are piecemeal and inconsistent. My members up and down the country are working longer and harder than ever attempting to make them work when clearly they are a sub-optimal solution and a work-around when a merger would be a much more efficient and sensible use of resources.
“I am really encouraged by the leadership being shown by the two Chief Constables. They are now seriously exploring a possible merger and are discussing it with policing partners and the public. These are the types of different approaches, and difficult decisions and conversations, that policing needs to start having.
“The opportunity is now there for the government. We look forward to taking part in this discussion and await the outcome with interest.”