The Home Office’s decision to postpone the majority of planned police force mergers until autumn has been welcomed by HR professionals within the service.
Home secretary John Reid last week told MPs that he still believed the mergers to be “the right way” forward, but that further discussions were needed before laying any orders to enforce them. Only the merger of Lancashire and Cumbria is to go ahead on schedule.
Keith Watkinson, director of personnel and training at West Yorkshire Police, said the delay was good news for HR. “The more time that we have to prepare, the better the result,” he told Personnel Today.
He added that the government had underestimated the impact of the mergers.
The Association of Police Authorities (APA) said more time was needed to clarify important issues.
APA chairman Bob Jones said: “The APA has said from the start of this process that such important issues need to be dealt with over a reasonable timescale.”
Cleveland Police Authority and West Mercia Police Authority began separate High Court proceedings against the Home Office earlier this month in a bid to prevent the merger plans going through.
The National Assembly for Wales has also sought legal advice over proposals to merge four forces in Wales.