Aborted police merger cost Essex £150k

ESSEX Police has calculated that the aborted proposals to join forces with Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire cost it more than £150,000.And Police Authority chairman Robert Chambers said he hoped the Home Office would compensate it after the controversial merger plans were shelved.

By Roddy Ashworth

ESSEX Police has calculated that the aborted proposals to join forces with Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire cost it more than £150,000.

And Police Authority chairman Robert Chambers said he hoped the Home Office would compensate it after the controversial merger plans were shelved.

A review of how Essex Police could fit in with a proposed national structure of fewer and larger forces was ordered by Home Secretary Charles Clarke in September 2005.


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In November he called for a three-week consultation period and in March of this year he announced that Essex Police would merge with the other two forces.

However, after Mr Clarke left the Home Office, his successor John Reid abandoned the plans, although he did not rule out returning to them at a later date.

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Yesterday Mr Chambers said he believed the estimate of the cost to Essex Police of the pre-merger programme could be fully justified.

“The total is £166,000 and I think we have been very fair with what we have put in,” he told the EADT.

“We would expect the Home Office to refund some of that.

“These are actual costs that we can identify and justify. I just hope that the other forces and authorities have done the same.”

But Suffolk police said it could not provide a figure.

A spokesman said: “Suffolk Police Authority and Suffolk Constabulary are currently in the process of carrying out a review of the costs that it incurred in connection the Restructuring of Police Forces initiated by the Home Secretary in 2005.

“This review of costs is based on the Home Office formula for assessment.

“The preparation of the business case for restructuring was complex and thought provoking and much of the work undertaken is being used to form the basis of discussions for taking forward improvements to policing in Suffolk.”

Earlier this week Hertfordshire Police estimated that it had spent £192,547 on its pre-merger programme.

North Wales Police has said it spent around £375,000 and Yorkshire has estimated a cost of around £500,000.

Nationally, each of the 43 forces in England and Wales spent an average of £268,668 on the plan - a projected total of £11.5 million.

Sums uncovered by the poll ranged from £1 million spent by the Sussex force to just £20,000 shelled out by Humberside.

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