Sir Hugh Orde is the relatively new chief shop steward for the police (AKA President of ACPO). In September Orde was railing against politicians wanting the police to be accountable, see here. Now he has resuscitated the idea of regionalising the Police. According to the Evening Standard today he says that police forces must merge to save money. It sounds like he is bringing back Charles Clarke’s failed attempt to regionalise policing back in 2005. It all collapsed luckily amidst claims that mergers would cost £600 million, see here. It sounds like Orde will have a hard time judging by this quote:
I have raised [mergers] with every political party and I do not detect any political will to deliver this in the foreseeable future.
Quite right. I don’t know why Orde is raising this now. There is no doubt that the police in common with all public services are going to be under financial pressure for a long time. The correct reponse to this is to look at solo patrolling, reducing police paperwork, holding down police pay, making use of cheaper staff, pooling back office functions across forces, procuring across forces and, for good measure, getting coppers out of limos. Once you have done all of that Mr Orde come back to mergers but for most people the police are distant and unaccountable enough without regional mergers thank you.