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Last Updated: Friday, 17 February 2006, 14:33 GMT
Police body votes against merger
Police recruits
Police authority members are worried about the costs of a merger
North Wales Police Authority has voted against plans for an all-Wales force after its chief constable told members they would be "crackers" to agree.

Richard Brunstrom said the area's police authority deserved answers to questions about funding of the plan.

Charles Clarke has given Wales' four forces until 24 February to agree to a merger or he will impose one.

North Wales Police Authority said it wanted its "channels of communication" with the Home Office kept open.

However, some members accused the UK government of a "lack of courtesy" over the response to their questions about the costs and accountability of the proposed force.

Richard Brunstrom
You would be crackers to agree to this now - you deserve answers to questions you have raised, and you haven't had them
Richard Brunstrom

Plans for the radical restructuring of the 43 forces in Wales and England were revealed last September when the Inspectorate of Constabulary described police structure as no longer "fit for purpose".

The UK Government has argued that Wales' four forces - all with fewer than 4,000 officers - are too small to deal with major crimes such as international terrorism.

North Wales Police Authority voted against Mr Clarke's plan after Mr Brunstrom told them: "You would be crackers to agree to this now.

"You deserve answers to questions you have raised, and you haven't had them."

'Financial burden'

The body is the second Welsh police authority to vote that it would not volunteer for the merger.

On Monday, South Wales Police Authority chairman Ray Thomas said "we cannot jump blindly towards a merger" until the body's queries on who would shoulder the financial burden of the move had been answered.

Barbara Wilding, chief constable of South Wales Police, has said she is in favour of a merger, as operationally "it makes absolute sense".

The UK Government has argued that Wales' four forces - all with fewer than 4,000 officers - are too small to deal with major crimes such as international terrorism.




BBC NEWS: VIDEO AND AUDIO
Police chief said vote for merger would be 'crackers'



SEE ALSO:
More opposition to police merger
13 Feb 06 |  Syndication
Police mergers outlined by Clarke
06 Feb 06 |  UK Politics
Police 'miss merge plan deadline'
23 Dec 05 |  UK Politics


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