Page last updated at 16:59 GMT, Monday, 14 December 2009

Forces agree single firearms unit

Armed police officer [generic]
The combined firearms unit is likely to be made up of 100 officers

Two police forces in the north-east of England have finalised plans to create a joint firearms unit.

The Durham and Cleveland forces say the move, to create a team of about 100 officers, will streamline firearms capabilities and reduce costs.

Joint cross border working is due to begin in April 2010.

The forces are also planning to combine road policing teams from the autumn of next year and are looking at ways of further sharing resources.

Cleveland Police Authority chairman Dave McLuckie said: "The government has made it clear it wants to see growing collaboration between forces, especially in providing key protective services.

"Initially the project between ourselves and Durham, which has been part funded by the Home Office, looked at the possibility of providing a joint firearms operation, but was then extended to include roads policing because of the obvious close links."

Peter Thompson, chairman of Durham Police Authority said: "It is a new and exciting era which will lay the foundations for future expansion, and open up avenues for both forces and not only create further opportunities for collaboration in the specialist roads policing functions but also in other areas."

In a joint statement chief constables Sean Price, of Cleveland, and Jon Stoddart, of Durham, added: "We are confident this development will help us in achieving our shared aim of providing efficient, top quality services in support of the needs of our combined communities."

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