IT’S worth looking at the possible benefits of restructuring policing, according to Hampshire Police Federation.
Senior police officials have called on the Government to replace the 43 forces in England and Wales with fewer, larger forces, in order to better tackle organised crime. However The Times reported that Home Secretary Priti Patel was not considering a restructure.
The calls come ahead of a Royal Commission into the effectiveness of the criminal justice system, announced in December’s Queen’s Speech.
Federation Chairman Alex Charge said: “For me it’s a really interesting concept. I think it’s difficult, but it needs to be looked at as the whole country. There need to be lessons learned from what’s happened in Police Scotland. But there are some easy wins in terms of cost savings, in terms of all doing things the same way. You’ve got 43 forces with 43 different kinds of hats, different coats. We all drive different cars. Surely there’s got to be efficiency and money saved, which we would then spend on important things.”
Alex said a restructure would present big challenges around accountability and whether Police and Crime Commissioners and Chief Officers would be willing to relinquish control.
But he said it needed to be looked at “from the top down” and that the Federation should also engage with the issue.
Hampshire Police force currently share some resources with Thames Valley Police, but Alex said that with joint operating it would be better if it were “all or nothing”.
“The feedback we get as a Federation in Hampshire about the joint operating unit is that it’s all run by Thames Valley, we change everything to be like Thames Valley. But when I speak to Craig O’Leary, the Thames Valley Federation Chairman, he says that Thames Valley officers say it’s all about Hampshire. Ultimately, whether it’s true or not, that’s the way officers feel. So we need to be all in or not. Doing it piecemeal I don’t think is particularly effective, because then we’ve got cars with two badges on. Are all our officers they truly inter-operable? I’m not convinced they are.
“Whereas if we just did one computer system for the south of England, one sort of car for the south of England, it would be so much more efficient.”