Force is not for merging

POLICE bosses in Suffolk have refused to back plans to merge with the neighbouring forces of Cambridgeshire and Norfolk - and say they may consider legal action against the move.

POLICE bosses in Suffolk have refused to back plans to merge with the neighbouring forces of Cambridgeshire and Norfolk - and say they may consider legal action against the move.

At an extraordinary meeting of Suffolk Police Authority, it was decided to make clear opposition to proposals by Home Secretary Charles Clarke to integrate the three constabularies.

Mr Clarke has already rejected Suffolk's preference for an east coast force linking Essex, Suffolk and Norfolk and the county had until April 7 to either volunteer for a merger or object to his plans.

The Home Secretary still has the power to push through with his scheme regardless of local opinion, with his final decision being made on May 8.


You may also want to watch:


However, because of Suffolk's objections, should Mr Clarke insist on a merger there will now be a further four-month consultation process.

Members of the authority also agreed that it should take any action to challenge the Home Secretary's proposals for amalgamation including a judicial review (if considered appropriate), consultation and lobbying.

Most Read

In its formal response to the plans, which has to reach Mr Clarke by the end of the week, the police authority will also set out a number of conditions that should be adhered to if a merger is forced upon them.

These include that the Home Office meet all net costs associated with the amalgamation, no cost should fall on the council taxpayer, any merger is not completed earlier than April 2008 and in the run-up the merger the constabulary should not be burdened with bureaucratic procedures such as Government inspections.

Speaking at last night's meeting, held at the force's headquarters in Martlesham, Gulshan Kayembe, chairman of Suffolk Police Authority, said she was pleased the decision not to volunteer for amalgamation was undisputed.

“It is a key decision and I am very glad it has been made unanimously. We are doing something we don't believe in but we have to remain sensitive to our responsibilities not only for supporting staff but also for the people of Suffolk and to ensure we maintain the high level of service that we are currently providing and drive for continuous improvement.”

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter