The government’s decision to shelve plans to merge UK police forces has been labelled “disastrous” by the body representing rank and file officers.
Last week, the government announced a U-turn on the £1bn programme, which proposed amalgamating 43 forces into 24. Instead, forces in England and Wales are to be encouraged to enter into new forms of collaboration.
Jan Berry, chairman of the Police Federation, said the “mixed messages” coming from government had caused distress to police officers and staff who were already worried about the future.
“Whatever the differing views on the proposals, the confusion was nothing short of disastrous,” she said.
HR professionals across the Police Service in England and Wales were heavily involved in the merger plan. A working group, with representatives from the Association of Police Authorities and the Association of Chief Police Officers, was set up by the Home Office to co-ordinate HR policy.
David Williams, director of personnel at West Midlands Police, said the decision was bad news for HR. “There is a body of opinion across the service, particularly in the HR function, that there were real gains to be made from the mergers,” he told Personnel Today.