Police forces in talks to share services
PUBLISHED: 07:00 30 January 2015
A 'STRATEGIC alliance' where two police forces will pool resources is being discussed as a way to save money.
Avon and Somerset Constabulary bosses are in talks with Wiltshire Police to collaborate on a way to make savings over the next five years.
Wiltshire Police and Crime Commissioner Angus Macpherson said it was important to stress the plans were not for a ‘merger’.
The two forces already collaborate on a shared Major Crime Investigation team and Special Branch.
Discussions between both Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) and Chief Constables began in December.
The talks are still at an early stage, but it has been decided specialist police resources and protective and corporate services will be shared.
Both forces would retain their PCCs and Chief Constables, while neighbourhood and response policing will 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 has to find savings of around £42million.
It 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.
Mr Macpherson said: “It’s important to stress that 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.”