Police amalgamations.

The implications of what I choose to call the Redundancy of Parliament Bill are nicely summarised by Melanie Phillips. http://snipurl.com/njts

Also moving through is a government proposal to amalgamate the current many police forces into a much smaller organisation of some 4 groups only. There is a good report of a Parliamentary debate on this topic. http://snipurl.com/nyqe
One of the things that concerns me is the short lead time given for forces to consult and report their support or otherwise for the amalgamation process.

The government has been accused of extra-parliamentary decision making and implementation. Changes to existing laws and new legislation by ministerial fiat rather than debate in the Commons subject to review in the Lords. The Redundancy of Parliament proposals will merely formalise – and, doubtless, extend what is already ongoing. One example might be the acceptance by Met police of a new way to deal with those suspected of being a terrorist in possession of an explosive device. http://snipurl.com/nyra. The priority needed to put into place more effective methods is understandable but what was authorised was a considerable departure from what has been considered as the law. It was not formalised by government action.

I see the potential for further problems if one couples these two chains together. The Labour party would like to introduce more radical methods in a number of areas. Just, for our purposes here, consider tougher restrictions on asylum seekers and potential immigrants. These would attract demonstrations. I think that demonstrations are either becoming more violent, (hunting with dogs event in Parliament Square) or much more sensitive, (Muslim cartoons march allowed to proceed with no effective action regarding the posters displayed). The party in power needs to know that it will have the police on its side in controlling reaction to their unpopular measures imposed without the light of democratic process. This cannot be guaranteed; remember Blunkett’s problem at Humberside. http://snipurl.com/nyse

Reducing the number of police forces would make it much easier to steam-roller them into doing what the government wants. Pressurising 4 is a lot easier than dealing with some, what is it? 42 authorities; not all of them are Labour lead. I think the current government is capable of anything devious.
Ever since i first heard about this policy i have always suspected it to be the first step in politicising (if that is a word) the police. The 4 successful candidates to be chief constables, or whatever (gauleiter) would obviously be the biggest ar$% creeping amongst the 42.
Initially I thought reducing the number of police forces was sensible , because they all seem to have different standards, equipment, and modus operandi. I think you may be correct in assuming the government wants more control. I have always thought that the police should be more answerable to the public than to politicians. If some of these Police chiefs had to justify their actions and costs to the local electorate, then they may get back to SERVING the public
instead of satisfying politicians.
Not all the forces are keen about these mergers. There will be a lot of good police officers who will lose out because they will be 'absorbed' rather than partnered and I have spoken to a few who wil be leaving when it comes about.

Arguments about bigger forces being more capable to deal with major crime don't quite hold water if you view the statistics, AND

Whilst I try not to see conspiracies everywhere . . . it does seem that under this Government (who I see are running the country into financial straits) that Parliament has become less powerful and Government has become more dodgy.

There is an agenda, that's obvious, and I don't think it benefits the police or the communities they serve.

as a footnote - should add that local police forces are trying to be accountable - here in Staffordshire we have a Police Consultative Comittee, we practice 'ethical' crime statistics (i.e. ALL crime is recorded) and we encourage dialogue in hotspots to ensure that the fears of those who feel threatened are positively acted upon. This is not the same for some of the forces with whom we will be merged!

I agree that it's been done a bit ham-fistedly, and healthy scepticism about the motives of politicians never hurt anyone.

However, I broadly support the amalgamations.

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