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Last Updated: Sunday, 5 September, 2004, 23:30 GMT 00:30 UK
'Minimum policing contracts' plan
Mark Oaten MP
Mark Oaten called for better organised national agencies
Police chiefs would sign contracts with local communities setting out how many officers they would deploy, under plans announced by the Liberal Democrats.

The "minimum policing guarantees" would set funding levels for local police for a rolling three-year period.

The guarantees are part of the party's new plans to tackle crime.

The plans include using money earmarked for the government's ID card plan to hire an extra 10,000 front line police and 20,000 community support officers.

National agencies

The Lib Dems also want to spend more on technology and to create a national police agency to fight national and international crime.

They have proposed forming a national border force to guard ports and airports to tackle cross-border terrorism, drug-smuggling and people trafficking

Meanwhile, retired police officers, and those nearing retirement, would be encouraged to stay on to help with paper work and pass on their experience.

Liberal Democrat home affairs spokesman Mark Oaten said the plans would make a major difference to the way police protected and served their communities.

"We must have more police, we must have better equipped police, and we must have better organised national systems to tackle organised and international crime," he said.

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