[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Friday, 23 December 2005, 13:45 GMT
Force 'opposes proposal' to merge
Kent Chief Constable Michael Fuller
Kent's police chief has always said the force should stand alone
Kent Police has submitted a business plan opposing proposals to merge it with forces in Sussex and Surrey.

Michael Powis from the Kent Police Authority said: "The detailed business plan outlines why Kent Police should and can remain just as Kent."

The Home Office wants to combine the existing 43 forces in England and Wales into as few as 12 and had given forces until Friday to respond.

The Association of Police Authorities has said only 13 are willing to merge.

'Overwhelming call'

The chairman of the Kent Police Federation, Ian Pointon, echoed Mr Powis' sentiments, saying the county's force should remain independent as the majority of the public oppose the plans.

"I'm hopeful Kent Police will be left alone, I think the force has got a great reputation, the staff want it to be left alone as do 90% of the public - there's an overwhelming call."

Mr Pointon added that he was greatly concerned how the merger would all be financed.

He said the 58m it would cost to set up would pay for thousands of extra police officers.

"The government wants to fight serious organised crime and terrorism, so what better way to do that than have hundreds of extra police officers."

'Chronic under-funding'

Meanwhile the Sussex force said the plans were too hasty and Surrey said it was unconvinced by the proposals.

The chief constable of Sussex, Ken Jones, said police forces are not opposed to change, but it has to be done in the right way.

"I think we accept that there are certainly areas including regional crime and terrorism which need to be addressed in the way we police this country.

"What we're saying at the moment is that we want to take more time to look into the best way of restructuring and not be rushed into one option which is mergers."

Surrey Police said the force is "chronically" under funded but it remained to be convinced that merger offers an answer to the problem.


SEE ALSO:
Police merger options put forward
25 Oct 05 |  Southern Counties
Police chiefs halt 'merger rush'
09 Dec 05 |  England


RELATED INTERNET LINKS:
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


PRODUCTS AND SERVICES

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific