MPs join forces to fight police merger

MEMBERS of Parliament for Essex have put on a united front in their bid to save the county's police being merged into a regional super-force.Yesterday the county's MPs launched a campaign to save Essex Police being merged with forces from Suffolk, Norfolk, Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire.

MEMBERS of Parliament for Essex have put on a united front in their bid to save the county's police being merged into a regional super-force.

Yesterday the county's MPs launched a campaign to save Essex Police being merged with forces from Suffolk, Norfolk, Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire.

All but two of the county's 17 MPs have publicly signed a pledge to resist the merger of Essex Police in the Home Office reorganisation of policing across the country.

The MPs are campaigning for Essex Police to stand alone as a strategic force.


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Mark Francois, MP for Rayleigh, who is co-ordinating the effort, said: “We think it's very important that a county with 1,500,000 people, the size of Essex, has the police force that understands the county and how to police it, as opposed to some amorphous force.”

On Monday, the Essex MPs are going to take part in a debate on policing in Parliament, in a bid to persuade the Government to change its mind.

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West Chelmsford MP Simon Burns said: “It's an absolute disgrace if the Government were to force this proposal through which flies in the face of all public opinion in Essex and the best interests of policing in the county.”

Harwich MP Douglas Carswell said: “I think it's absolutely vital that we keep local police forces local and this is appalling if it means that the local police get turned into a regional force. People will have no real input into what their local police do any more.”

North Essex MP Bernard Jenkin said: “The Government talks about decentralisation and localisation, but this is big brother central state. The people of Essex are proud of our police if they're not the Essex Police they're not Essex police.”

Essex Police Authority chairman Robert Chambers has also pledged to fight the Government's plans for police regionalisation.

Home Secretary Charles Clarke has justified the move towards regionalisation by saying modern threats from terrorism and international organised crime do not respect local borders.

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