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PCC says she doesn't want 'senior management of police navel gazing about a merger for any longer than necessary'.

(L-R) Devon and Cornwall Chief Constable Shaun Sawyer and Police and Crime Commissioner Alison Hernandez, Dorset Police and Crime Commissioner Martyn Underhill and Chief Constable James Vaughan

(L-R) Devon and Cornwall Chief Constable Shaun Sawyer and Police and Crime Commissioner Alison Hernandez, Dorset Police and Crime Commissioner Martyn Underhill and Chief Constable James Vaughan

Date - 15th August 2018
By - Sophie Garrod - Police Oracle
6 Comments6 Comments}

 

Councillors discussing the potential merger between Devon, Cornwall and Dorset Police have been left frustrated and concerned over the lack of planning detail provided.

The new force, which will be the biggest in the UK by geographical area, will be run by one chief constable, overseen by one PCC and would come into existence in May 2020.

But at a Devon and Cornwall Police and Crime Panel meeting on Friday, councillors found themselves unable to scrutinise the plans - due to be submitted to the Home Office on October 12 - because of a shortfall in specifics.

Cornwall Councillor Carolyn Rule said: “I’m disappointed we haven’t got the workings and thinking thus far - there’s nothing for us in the business case.

“It was a lovely presentation, very interesting, lots of nice words, but we haven’t actually got anything to delve down into and I feel as though we’ve all wasted our time being here today because we can’t give you the support you need at the moment as you haven’t told us the information so we can’t scrutinise it.”

It emerged during the meeting that Devon and Cornwall Chief Constable Shaun Sawyer and Police and Crime Commissioner Alison Herdanadez had not even seen the blueprints yet.

Cornwall Councillor Chris Batters told them: “At this point in time you have yet to see the business plan.

"If this was a business and I was asked to support and invest in it, one of the first things I would be doing is looking for a business plan for which I could put my support to and invest my money in, and we’re sitting here as 15 representatives of this region today and none of us know what this business plan is.

“Quite honestly I cannot see how I could support what you have in mind. I don’t know where we’re going with it, all these aspirations – seen it before. Aspirations means nothing to me, at the end of the day it’s guarantees or nothing.”

Torridge District councillor, Philip Hackett, suggested the panel push for a delay in the merger and aim instead for 2024 describing the move as a “shotgun wedding.”

He added: “We are just a few weeks short of the final deadline (Oct 12) but there is no evidence on the table to tell us how it is going to be. The devil is in the detail. Marriage is easy, but divorce is a very murky subject, and if we get this wrong, there is no going back.”

PCC Ms Hernandez pleaded with the panel not to extend the timescale. She said: “I don’t want senior management of police navel gazing about a merger for any longer than necessary. Don’t extend the timescale as I would rather we either make a decision to merge which will be time well spent, or a decision to not merge and then get on with the day job of policing.”

The panel agreed to move the date of its next meeting forward so a detailed business case could be presented which will then be forwarded to the Home Office by October 12.

Earlier last month chiefs said the merger could result in an extra 430 officers across the three counties.

This would include an immediate increase of about 100 officers due to the availability of an extra £3.2 million through savings from removing one chief constable and one PCC as well as sharing ICT systems.

The rest would come from an increase in council tax.

View On Police Oracle

 

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