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£250,000 wasted on Police merger plans!
In last week’s newspaper, I defended one of the recent investment decisions of the “Devon and Cornwall” Police Force. It related to the erection of two flagpoles at the Bodmin offices, one of which will fly the flag of St Piran, and I very much stand by what I wrote. But before the article was even published, it was announced that the failed attempt to merge the local constabulary with that of Dorset had cost a quarter of a million pounds.
The Police & Crime Commissioner, Alison Hernandez, has argued that “it was right and proper that we explored in detail the implications of a potential merger.” She has spoken of how the collapse of the initiative had the “positive effect” of freeing up thirty senior officers who are “now able to focus on frontline policing once again” as that is “where the public want them.”

But she continues to miss the point that the public did not want thirty police officers wasting their time on an ill-judged merger in the first place.

The decision to spend £250,000 in such a manner simply cannot be defended. It was a ridiculous waste of money, and Ms Hernandez and her advisors need to refocus on policing rather than bureaucratic reorganisations.

But it seems that changes are still afoot, though not in a very public manner.

Along with many other people, I have just received a letter from the GMB union, which states that the “entire forensic capacity” of the “Devon and Cornwall” Constabulary is being transferred to the Dorset Force with “no consultation with affected communities.”

The letter adds that “victims of crime will have seen the reduction in service provision already, with many instances of Scenes of Crime Officers not attending crime scenes they previously would have done. Combined with the fear that this process is designed to drive down wages of a highly professional body of people, you will easily imagine how low morale has become. We don’t feel this vital policing service can be used to cut costs.”

In addition, they are challenging Ms Hernandez to reverse this decision and safeguard “local control over a crucial frontline service.”

I find this whole situation to be very worrying and I feel now is the time for the Chief Constable and the Commissioner to give Cornish residents a guarantee that their policing service will not be further denuded.

For anyone who is interested, the Commissioner is also running an online poll about council tax levels for 2019/2020. It can be found at: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/GXPM5LX
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By Dick Cole. Published on 2nd February 2019.

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