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Merge the police?

#1
In light of the massive budget cuts the government are facing, with policing in particular set for some, it got me thinking.

Britain at the moment has lots of different, mainly county, police forces.

With the exception of the job specific (ie MOD Plod) constabularies is it time that each police force on the mainland was merged into a 'federalised' force?

What would the Pros & Cons be?
 
#2
It could save loads of money. Less senior officers, their cars etc. However, knowing the way things work it would probably create a huge organisation with an admin which would be out of control. NHS style.
 
#3
Always thought so. One State Police force with one set of jobs - Serious crime (murder, gun crime, gun crime, rape et al), traffic (give 'em the motorways and rid ourselves of the Traffic enforcement officers) and fraud.

Then, have local police forces with smaller budgets in charge of the smaller stuff, petty theft vandalism etc - at a level somewhere between CSO and full peeler. The (and I shudder at using this term) 'grass roots' policing that current chief constables are always banging on about.

Basically, the American system.


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On a more sensible less pie-in-the-sky note, we don't need to do that, but massive savings could be by releasing all the Police officers currently stuck doing paperwork and replace them with civilians who don't cost as much in terms of pensions and wage and training, yet do the same paper shuffling job. I know of several people who do this civvy job, and we frankly have many full coppers stuck. Re-distribution of resources is needed methinks.
 
#5
The likelihood, in time, some of the smaller forces will amalgamate with neighbouring forces. There have been plans that Cambridge, Herts, Norfolk and Suffolk could merge. Essex and Kent already share various roles due to the common interest of the Thames Gateway and coastal area.

The sticking point will be the Chief Officers - Who is going to be the 'Big Cheese', and where are the HQ's going to be.

Whether there will ever be a National Police Force in the UK is debatable. All EU states have local, burgh and national forces. So the likelihood in the UK that the current 40 something forces in England, Wales and Scotland could be reduced in number in due time. This is nothing new, the debate has been rumbling on for years.
 
#6
Surely at the moment the "big cheese", de facto, is the head of the Met.

Instead of many different forces of different sizes and capabilities, the federal force could be broken down into similar sized regions, with equal numbers of police.
 

maguire

LE
Book Reviewer
#7
while we have the ACPO in place, the individual chiefs are not going to agree to anything that will either do them or their cronies out of their (non) jobs and massive pensions. hence their current squealing about cuts, when if they took every useless tosser with 'diversity' or 'community' in their job title and gave them the big FO they'd have more money back in their budget than they knew what to do with.
 
#8
Elected Chief Constables would not only make the police more accoutable to the public but would have to life up to their promises if elected or get booted out.
 
#9
Yeoman_dai said:
Always thought so. One State Police force with one set of jobs - Serious crime (murder, gun crime, gun crime, rape et al), traffic (give 'em the motorways and rid ourselves of the Traffic enforcement officers) and fraud.

Then, have local police forces with smaller budgets in charge of the smaller stuff, petty theft vandalism etc - at a level somewhere between CSO and full peeler. The (and I shudder at using this term) 'grass roots' policing that current chief constables are always banging on about.

Basically, the American system.
Rather similar to the Italian system methinks.

Fully tooled up national Carabinieri for proper crime, local employed Polizia Locale for local stuff like parking and petty crime, littering and such like.
 
#15
I think you have got to be very careful about messing about with any form of potential power. History will tell you that Police forces, in the same way as Armys, can do huge damage if they go wrong. Far too may oppertunities for building empires here IMHO...

You need to have checks and balances in place to ensure that power and accountability are never allowed to separate. These checks may cause costs to be higher in the short term, but we may be sure that the long term benefits are worth it (unless you WANT to live under totalitarian rule that is..)

Responsibility for administering law and order should lie with the local authority, not with central government. The Home Office used to have a responisiblity to direct Police standards of equipment and training etc, but essentially regional authoritiy (in they days when they managed their own budgets) had the final decision..

I am not one for the central direction of Police. ACPO acts as a sort of national Police staff, but frankly I am not impressed and would hate to see this body getting any more power. Once you get to national levels, I think there would be far too many oppertunites for politicking, and the Police do not have the separation from civil society that the Armed forces have (for that reason).

If national security issues are an issue, there are other agencies belonging to the Home Office that are better placed to do the planning work, provided they leve the ground work to the Police..
 
#16
cliveincyprus said:
Elected Chief Constables would not only make the police more accoutable to their public but would have to life up to their promises if elected or get booted out.
Fixed that for you.

Be careful what you wish for. Current Chief Constables may be far from perfect but they do maintain a modicum of operational independence. In certain regions it would be perfectly possible to get the local radical Imam or BNP nutter elected to office - do you think they'll ensure the area is policed without 'fear or favour'?
 
#17
Stooriefit said:
cliveincyprus said:
Elected Chief Constables would not only make the police more accoutable to their public but would have to life up to their promises if elected or get booted out.
Fixed that for you.

Be careful what you wish for. Current Chief Constables may be far from perfect but they do maintain a modicum of operational independence. In certain regions it would be perfectly possible to get the local radical Imam or BNP nutter elected to office - do you think they'll ensure the area is policed with 'fear or favour'?
They probably would :twisted:
 
#19
HE117 said:
I

You need to have checks and balances in place to ensure that power and accountability are never allowed to separate. These checks may cause costs to be higher in the short term, but we may be sure that the long term benefits are worth it (unless you WANT to live under totalitarian rule that is..)

'Accountability'? What is this Police accountability of which you speak?

I think my local force and it's priorities are a load of ****, (Obsessed with speeding, **** all domestic patrolling these days), but other than writing a sternly worded letter to the Chief Plod that will be duly ignored, I can nothing about it.
 

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