Do we really need 43 Police Forces for England and Wales?

#1
NI has always had one,

Scotland quite recently reduced to 1 from 7.

Yet in the face of austerity England and Wales has retained 43 forces, add to this the BTP, Atomic Energy Police, NCA, SB and numerous small police forces (Liverpool Docks, tunnels etc).

That's 43+ Chief Constables, Police Commissioners and replicated administrations.

There's got to be a better way. Personally I think it's too much for 1 force to cover E&W, but could they roughly follow the Army example - 1 big boss, sensible hierarchy (not 80 Brigadiers/Divisional commanders), 1 major administrative centre etc, etc.

Could it work? Why's it not been done?
 
#2
Police Forces identity is like capbadge arguments - no matter how rstional the case for amagalgamating for operational effect, emotion and 'tradition' will try to win the day.
 
#3
hopefully once we Brexit, we'll have the choice of buying vehicles manufactured in the UK.
 
#4
hopefully once we Brexit, we'll have the choice of buying vehicles manufactured in the UK.
We might, but it will still come down to money - I suspect any post-brexit deals will still lead to foreign manufactured vehicles being competitive.
 
#5
Greater Manchester, Lancashire, Merseyside and Cumbria ambulance services were merged into NWAS about ten years ago and is still doing fine.

Merging forces would, I'd suggest, see little or no difference at a 'consumer' street level. But the savings in admin would be significant - not so much amongst coppers and admin staff at a local station level but, as you suggest, at the force HQ level.

There may also be savings elsewhere such as vehicle procurement - at the moment I see a good dozen different makes and many more models. Having one or two manufacturers provide the fleet would see significant discounts.
 
#6
BTP CNC etc are not Home Office forces and are controlled and funded differently so they would still remain separate. There was a study about merging the 4 Welsh forces (North Wales, Gwent, South Wales and Dyfed-Powys) and the feeling there is that it will eventually happen. What is needed is a Royal Commission. the last one was in 1962 and it's probably fair to say the role of the police has changed just a tad since then.

If nothing else, there is a massive variation in uniform, equipment and vehicles which cannot be cost effective against a whole country purchasing policy - although I think at least 20 forces have got together ant done a deal with Peugeot for new vehicles.
SWP, Gwent and Poyws already do a lot of back office sharing. Plus the mutual assistance is used a lot for major events in Cardiff. So very easy to merge just the jobs for the boys at the top will be the probem.
 
#7
It doesn't make sense that some UK law enforcement agencies do not come under the Home Office.

Even the MoD police should come under the home office - is there any need for the MoD Police?
 
#8
There's absolutely no reason why it couldn't be done (IMHO). You'd have to accept that there'd be some initial outlays for the changing of uniforms, vehicle markings, IT etc. However, from then on it I would suggest that the concept would offer savings in reductions in real estate, Chief Constable and other VSO salaries etc.

Likewise, I'd suggest that there'd be savings and efficiencies to be made if, instead of separate police, fire and ambulance control rooms, you had a joint Emergency Services Control Centre. It'd take a lot of fighting through the "Yeah, but you'd lose the advantage of local knowledge" argument (for which read "I'm bricking it about the security of my job"). However, there are lots of examples where this is done nationally - HM Coastguard, for one.

The issue with all of this - and the likely reason that it'd never happen - is because turkeys don't vote for Christmas.
 
#9
Maybe fewer forces but I am totally against a single national police service. Centralisation of any means of law enforcement - police, CCTV, whatever - may be for genuine reasons of efficiency and to 'combat terrorism' now, but a less benign poltical climate would find the ready-made machinery to substitute 'dissent' for 'terrorism'

Am I right in thinking that the unified service north of the border has receibefd less than a apturous reception from the public?
 

Auld-Yin

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#10
It doesn't make sense that some UK law enforcement agencies do not come under the Home Office.

Even the MoD police should come under the home office - is there any need for the MoD Police?
Bearing in mind that the Home Office only has responsibility for England and Wales, although I am unsure how much has been devolved to the Welsh Assembly.

The single police force in Scotland has good and not so good outcomes. Firstly, due to tax regulation they lost the ability to reclaim VAT which took in excess of £30 million out of the budget each year. That of course may not be the case after Brexit.

The policing 'styles' changed from a system that fitted in to the local way of life to a one-size fits all type which caused a lot of resentment in areas having a different style of policing imposed.

Rural policing definitely suffered with resources being concentrated in the central belt of Scotland, again with local people feeling uncertain about the loss of their local police.

Along with the centralising of police forces also saw the centralising of control centers which had controllers with little or no understanding of an area miles away from them making poor decisions.

All these factors took time to fix and I am not sure that they are as effective as when there were local police forces reporting to their local council. Having one Chief Constable, reporting directly to the Scottish government had also politicised the police in a way that was not so apparent previously.

I am not a fan of centralisation and feel the cost benefits are not balanced with the policing on the ground.
 
#11
Must agree with @Auld-Yin. On a much smaller scale than Scotland, the Avon and Somerset Constabulary has seen the policing style within Somerset change hugely over the years. Not only that, but the most recent stupidity has been our Police and Crime Commissioner, (great title that, haven't yet figured which side she's supposed to be on), announcing the closure of the custody suite in Yeovil, assuring the public this will not affect policing on the ground. No? How can that possibly be, given that when matey is arrested in Yeovil, somebody now has to drive him to Bridgwater - one copper off the plot for an hour and a half round trip, plus time booking him in. Madness.
 
#12
NI has always had one,

Scotland quite recently reduced to 1 from 7.

Yet in the face of austerity England and Wales has retained 43 forces, add to this the BTP, Atomic Energy Police, NCA, SB and numerous small police forces (Liverpool Docks, tunnels etc).

That's 43+ Chief Constables, Police Commissioners and replicated administrations.

There's got to be a better way. Personally I think it's too much for 1 force to cover E&W, but could they roughly follow the Army example - 1 big boss, sensible hierarchy (not 80 Brigadiers/Divisional commanders), 1 major administrative centre etc, etc.

Could it work? Why's it not been done?
Surely the experiment in Scotland would be something which could give a pointer to the viability of such a thing.

As you say, England is too big to be covered by one individual force so, just off the top of my head, could it not be arranged so policing is split between the famed "regions" which Prescott wanted to have "regional devolution"?
 

smeg-head

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#13
The short answer is no, we do not need all these forces. A national police service with one overall commander, split into various divisions.
 
#14
Greater Manchester, Lancashire, Merseyside and Cumbria ambulance services were merged into NWAS about ten years ago and is still doing fine.

Merging forces would, I'd suggest, see little or no difference at a 'consumer' street level. But the savings in admin would be significant - not so much amongst coppers and admin staff at a local station level but, as you suggest, at the force HQ level.

There may also be savings elsewhere such as vehicle procurement - at the moment I see a good dozen different makes and many more models. Having one or two manufacturers provide the fleet would see significant discounts.
As far as vehicles go, could that not be done at national level for the most common wagons, with the individual forces being allowed to buy any more "specialist" vehicles as necessary?
 
#15
Must agree with @Auld-Yin. On a much smaller scale than Scotland, the Avon and Somerset Constabulary has seen the policing style within Somerset change hugely over the years. Not only that, but the most recent stupidity has been our Police and Crime Commissioner, (great title that, haven't yet figured which side she's supposed to be on), announcing the closure of the custody suite in Yeovil, assuring the public this will not affect policing on the ground. No? How can that possibly be, given that when matey is arrested in Yeovil, somebody now has to drive him to Bridgwater - one copper off the plot for an hour and a half round trip, plus time booking him in. Madness.
How many coppers would be required to keep it open, that are now freed up for other duties?
 

Sixty

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#16
The policing 'styles' changed from a system that fitted in to the local way of life to a one-size fits all type which caused a lot of resentment in areas having a different style of policing imposed.
Like Operation Windermere where the Weegie-style puritanism of Strathclyde Police collided with Lothian & Borders rather more pragmatic approach to brothels saunas because the new Chief Constable decided zero tolerance was the way forward.
 
#17
I used to be a special in one of the smaller Scottish forces, leaving (for unrelated reasons) not long after the merger.

It went from forces being focused on their geographic area to national priorities taking over drawing resources to the major cities that will happily soak up bodies forever. It shot morale, especially in the smaller towns where any backup turned into a 20+ minute wait - especially if you wanted any form of specialist support like firearms.

Some of that could have been ameliorated if Police Scotland had come under the control of a board of local authorities - it would have kept its VAT then as well. Instead Holyrood (i.e. the SNP) wanted control, I can't see the Home Office not doing the same. It also led to the "Police Strathclyde" effect whereby their method of policing took over.

Scotland did have centralised IT and other back office functions for a long time, and some of it was quite impressive and significantly better than anything the English lot seemed to have.
 

Auld-Yin

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#18
Like Operation Windermere where the Weegie-style puritanism of Strathclyde Police collided with Lothian & Borders rather more pragmatic approach to brothels saunas because the new Chief Constable decided zero tolerance was the way forward.
That was one, but there were other areas of friction (SWIDT?) such as the stop and search which Strathclyde carried out as normal but when taken Scotland wide which did not go down well outside Strathclyde area. There was also the way some areas started putting armed police on routine patrol i.e. gun toting police turning up for a routine not even 999 call!

It did not help that the first chief constable was a bit up his own arras and thought that he was no longer responsible to anyone.
 
#19
There's absolutely no reason why it couldn't be done (IMHO). You'd have to accept that there'd be some initial outlays for the changing of uniforms, vehicle markings, IT etc. However, from then on it I would suggest that the concept would offer savings in reductions in real estate, Chief Constable and other VSO salaries etc.

Likewise, I'd suggest that there'd be savings and efficiencies to be made if, instead of separate police, fire and ambulance control rooms, you had a joint Emergency Services Control Centre. It'd take a lot of fighting through the "Yeah, but you'd lose the advantage of local knowledge" argument (for which read "I'm bricking it about the security of my job"). However, there are lots of examples where this is done nationally - HM Coastguard, for one.

The issue with all of this - and the likely reason that it'd never happen - is because turkeys don't vote for Christmas.
The joint emergency services control rooms idea has already happened in several parts of the UK. and continues to do so, Ditto with joint fire/ambulance/police stations. Partnership working/ scheme collaborations especially with regard to capital expenditure and buildings have been a requirement now for several years.
 
#20
Am I right in thinking that the unified service north of the border has receibefd less than a apturous reception from the public?



Providing some quality comedy
 

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