Police Merger Abandoned

'Dorset Police' and the 'Devon and Cornwall Police' have been working together but a proposed merger between the two forces has now been abandoned.

The Police Crime Commissioner for Devon and Cornwall, Alison Hernandez, opposed the merger and she said she did not want to submit the merger business case to the Home Office. Devon and Cornwall councillors on her police and crime panel have backed her.

But the Police and Crime Commissioner for Dorset, Martyn Underhill, said it was a political decision that meant 'the people of Devon and Cornwall will now pay the same for less'. He, and the two chief constables, were in favour of the merger which he said potentially freed up money for 430 extra police officers in the area. But Ms Hernandez said the business case only proposed one hundred more officers - 70 in Devon and Cornwall and 30 in Dorset.

She said there would not be enough benefit to communities in Devon and Cornwall to justify the resulting increase in council tax.  "I don't think there was overwhelming support from the public, and there certainly wasn't overwhelming support from our elected representatives," she added. 

North Dorset Liberal Democrats' Parliamentary Spokesperson, Hugo Mieville, expressed his relief at the news that the proposed merger is off. He added: 'I think the right decision has been reached. The economic benefits of the merger were disputed, whilst the loss of localised democratic control and accountability over policing in Dorset would have been worrying. Liberal Democrats believe in localism. Dorset Police are right to be concerned by the constant erosion in government funding, but merging with other forces who operate many miles from Dorset is not the right answer.' 

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