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Go-ahead for merged police teams

17 July 07 14:48 GMT

A £3.7m pilot scheme creating joint police crime units covering several forces has been given the go-ahead.

The projects include a serious crime unit in the North West and Wales, and a firearms team for Cleveland and Durham.

The Home Office initiative will involve 30 of the 43 constabularies in England and Wales, and could pave the way for more collaborations between forces.

Plans to merge entire forces, which were opposed by many top officers, were dropped by ministers in July last year.

Results analysed

The Home Office agreed to repay £4m of the £6.5m forces spent on the failed project.

The latest initiative will see each scheme receive up to £500,000, and the results will be analysed by the National Policing Improvement Agency.

The projects are:

  • Cheshire, Cumbria, Lancashire, Merseyside and North Wales: regional cross-border crime team
  • Surrey and Sussex: integrated specialist operations command
  • Cleveland and Durham: joint firearms unit
  • Humberside, North Yorkshire, South Yorkshire and West Yorkshire: regional undercover unit
  • Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Northamptonshire and Nottinghamshire: joint witness protection team
  • Dyfed-Powys, Gwent, North Wales and South Wales: collaboration on public protection measures as a well as a major crime and serious organised and cross-border crime project
  • Essex and Kent: strategic command project to improve policing of the Thames estuary, ports, airports and main roads
  • Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire: collaboration on major crime
  • Avon & Somerset, Devon & Cornwall, Dorset, Wiltshire and Gloucestershire: operational and back office support
  • The earlier plans were dropped following the failure of a voluntary merger between the Cumbria and Lancashire forces.

    At the time, former Prime Minister Tony Blair said it would be wrong to impose mergers on forces but that the idea was not off the agenda.

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