Police authority considers merger

AN extraordinary meeting of Suffolk Police Authority is due to take place today to discuss the possible amalgamation of Suffolk's force with Norfolk and Cambridgeshire.

AN extraordinary meeting of Suffolk Police Authority is due to take place today to discuss the possible amalgamation of Suffolk's force with Norfolk and Cambridgeshire.

Members of the authority were due to meet at the force's Martlesham headquarters at 5.30pm to determine whether they will voluntarily merge with their East Anglian counterparts.

However even if members agree with the Home Secretary's decision to amalgamate the three police areas, there will be a four-month period of consultation and possibly a House of Commons debate as Cambridgeshire has already voted against the plans.

All three forces must volunteer for the merger in order for it to go ahead without consultation.


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Suffolk previously said if they were forced to amalgamate with any forces they would prefer to merge with Norfolk and Essex.

When discussing the scheme Suffolk Chief Constable Alistair McWhirter described Cambridgeshire as “Billy no mates” when it came to policing.

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But on March 20, Home Secretary Charles Clarke announced a Suffolk, Cambridgeshire, Norfolk amalgamation as his preferred choice.

Speaking at the time Suffolk Police Authority chairman Gulshan Kayembe said the authority was disappointed with the decision and would consider the matter carefully before deciding how to respond.

Cambridgeshire Police Authority also expressed disappointment having pushed for a “federated” option which would retain local accountability for frontline policing but with a partnership to share certain office functions.

Norfolk Police Authority welcomed the move and is therefore likely to opt for voluntary amalgamation.

They held a seminar last Monday in which they expressed their support for the merger and said they remained committed to amalgamation.

Suffolk will consider its position at the meeting today and will also discuss the possibility of exploring legal action or lobbying MPs to vote against the scheme.

The authority must advise the Home Secretary of its decision by April 7.

Weblink: www.suffolk.police.uk

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