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Should there be a single police force?

10:27 UK time, Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill has set out the options for the future of Scotland's police force. Does it matter how a force is structured?

Scotland's eight police forces could be merged into just one to save money. The SNP says it would back the merger, rather than compromise frontline policing.

Labour and the Conservatives both support a single police force, but the Liberal Democrats remain opposed. The Association of Chief Police Officers is split on the issue.

Are you concerned about changes to the police force? Does it matter how a force is set up? What do you think about current policing?

Thank you for your comments. This debate is now closed.

Comments

Page 1 of 3

  • Comment number 1.

    Presumably the big advantages would be things like consistency of training, better information-sharing and economies of scale.
    As long as forces are still based regionally (so speed or response, or knowledge of local areas isn't compromised) I can't see that it would make any practical difference to Joe Public.

  • Comment number 2.

    Just how many Chief and Assistant Chief and Assistant Assistant Chief Constables do you need?

  • Comment number 3.

    1. At 1:18pm on 12 Jan 2011, Khuli wrote:

    Presumably the big advantages would be things like consistency of training, better information-sharing and economies of scale.

    ==============================================================
    agreed with an emphasis on visibility on the streets, and not just in cars.

  • Comment number 4.

    At least a National Police Force would eliminate the pet barmy ideas and schemes enforced by local Chief Constables. Grey areas of law enforcement though would suffer where there is local tolerances, one prime example is the patchy and volitile policing of prostitution, which in some cases depends on the barmy religious convictions of some Chief Constables, making up the rules are they go along.

  • Comment number 5.

    The potential is that a single police force would enable back-office admin functions to be consolidated, requiring a reduced admin workforce and thus releasing officers for front-line duties.

    The danger is that a single police force for the whole of Scotland could end up becoming a giant bureaucracy, and that insufficient account would be taken of the different approaches needed between policing urban and inner city areas, contrasted with policing vast tracts of sparsely populated countryside and islands.

  • Comment number 6.

    It's a police force.

    How many little empire builders does one need ??

  • Comment number 7.

    Is a robbery in Glasgow any different from a robbery in Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Dundee or Inverness ??

    Apparently, there is also such a thing as THE best way of solving a crime.

  • Comment number 8.

    Central control often misses the individualism necessary to run a branch. While saving costs now it could be a problem as too much on something and too little of another is distributed. However something must be done to cut costs so implemented properly it could work.

  • Comment number 9.

    Does it matter? The only thing they're good at is persecuting the motorist, give them something important to do such as upholding the law in the community or solving a murder and they're found wanting.

  • Comment number 10.

    The police force ? One size suits all? it dont' work like that in real life. Only the Russian K.G.B could make that work, same brand but? some soft centres' some hard. Save on cost maybe ? but open to abuse and all manner of tricks Who would trust a super force?

  • Comment number 11.

    Yes, why not? After all we have a single Air Force, Navy, Army and we trust our countires defense to that system.

  • Comment number 12.

    In theory this is a great idea. however the practice might not work out that way.

    I notice that MoD in Scotland is being hit inequitably during the drawback of personnel and bases. In the same way any cuts of policing tend to happen at the fringes or less populated areas. So if there is one authority it will natrurally look to protect the high-density populations at the expense of more rural areas, especially most of the Highlands.

    That said, the best thing about one authority is, as has been said, consistency of training and responsibility. Properly introduced, with safeguards against leaving rural areas without policing, this can be a good move and should narrow the pyramid of empire builders.

  • Comment number 13.

    If there's a serious complaint made against a member or division of the new Scottish Police Service, who investigates it. Themselves? English, Welsh, and Irish police officers all operate in different legal jurisdictions. Police officers investigating their colleagues has about as much value as asking school children to mark their own homework.

  • Comment number 14.

    Hi, This is a question to the Moderators (I don't know where else I can ask).
    After a posting before my message appears it says "All new members are pre-moderated initially". I have been a member of SYS almost since its inception. How long is it before I'm not classed as a new member?
    Please don't just reject this posting. I can be emailed at [Personal details removed by Moderator]
    Thanks

  • Comment number 15.

    The key phrase is from the SNP "to protect frontline provision". In other words the alternatives may involve unacceptable cuts in provision. And at the core of the problem is money. The ACPO remain equivocal presumably because there will be blood letting at their level.

    It is good to see the red and blue pies in unison for a change and I think we can safely ignore the the unpleasant yellow gunge from the custard tarts who are well past their sell-by date anyway.



  • Comment number 16.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 17.

    the army has different regiments trained to a high standard,each regiment has it's own method of training,each has it's own traditions and cultures,each controlled by a superior command.Nothing wrong with the army,so why the fuss over a home based police force with just a small territorial land space to watch over.There has to be another reason other than cost for change.
    Putting all the police in one bag is not a good idea,especially when terrorists are hard at work dismantling the structure of a well trained individual company of policemen.
    To cut costs on policing the general public,is a crime and what ever policy governments have in mind north or south should not make the hole already made deeper than it already is.

  • Comment number 18.

    Yes there should be a single police force. Crime is crime and maybe if there were less chiefs and a lot more indians it would help in the reduction of crime.

    Also the law is the law and doesn't or shouldn't vary from for
    force to force. The only thing standing in the way of this change is the people who will see it as their right to be promoted to Chief Constable etc.

    The same should be done with Education, the NHS and all public service bodies which are split into bits. If all these bodies were singing off the same hymn sheet, service to the public would I'm sure improve and at the end of the day cost less.

  • Comment number 19.

    Presumably the big advantages would be things like consistency of training, better information-sharing and economies of scale.
    As long as forces are still based regionally (so speed or response, or knowledge of local areas isn't compromised) I can't see that it would make any practical difference to Joe Public.

    ----------
    The vast majority of regional police forces througout the UK do this, already, because of its nature much local policing particularly in rural areas can not actually benefit from economies of scale.

    It is worth bearing in mind that even if all the Constabluaries in Scotland were mereged the resulting force would be approximately half the size and covering less than half the population currently covered by the London Metroplitan Police

  • Comment number 20.

    3. At 1:37pm on 12 Jan 2011, John Mc wrote:

    1. At 1:18pm on 12 Jan 2011, Khuli wrote:

    Presumably the big advantages would be things like consistency of training, better information-sharing and economies of scale.

    ==============================================================
    agreed with an emphasis on visibility on the streets, and not just in cars.


    Why are some people still obsessed with the mythical "bobby on the beat" syndrome? I see no fewer police on the streets where I live today than I did back in the 60s and 70s.

  • Comment number 21.

    Most definitely. Not only is the move likely to save money but the removal of barriers and turf wars is likely to improve performance. In a country as geographically small as Britain there is no need for multiple departments.

  • Comment number 22.

    Same old rubbish, just a different day. It won't change anything - not even krispy kreme donut sales.

  • Comment number 23.

    In Scotland's case with a population of only ~5million a single national force would be policing far less citizens than the Metropolitan police manages in London, so I see no real problems and many obvious benefits.

    Incidentally the reason we don't have a single force in the UK is that the 'super chief constable' would be one of the most powerful people in the whole country and completely unelected. Britain has avoided dictatorship and revolution with a policy of not allowing one person too much power. This is why we have MI5 reporting to the home secretary and MI6 reporting to the foreign secretary etc.

    I also agree with post #20. Why the obsession with 'bobbies on the beat'? If an axe-wielding murderer is smashing my door down I want cops there as soon as possible. They can respond far faster in cars than on foot.

  • Comment number 24.

    17. At 2:24pm on 12 Jan 2011, Hilda Williams wrote:
    the army has different regiments trained to a high standard,each regiment has it's own method of training,each has it's own traditions and cultures,each controlled by a superior command.Nothing wrong with the army
    _______________________________________________________

    Actually all army training is done on a central basis: if you join the Armoured Corps (as I did) you train at Bovington Camp, join the Infantry and its Catterick etc. My regiment was made by amalgamating 4 old regiments and it worked pretty well. If you're making Army v Police comparisions you could argue a case for merger and centralisation just as easily.

  • Comment number 25.

    Of course there should be a single force I can't see any arguement against it. First it would save a tremendous lot of paper work but most important criminals have soon worked out that if they do a crime just over the county border there is less chance they will be detected. This is exactly the same in the US where cross state crime is very common
    Much of the whole cross county decision making and services cause problems. If there is to be a big development it is always on a county border it cuts down the opposition. Just look at motorway service stations, airports etc it's no coincidence that they are on borders between counties. The criminals have also thought about it. If you live on a county border there is more chance of you being visited by a thief.

  • Comment number 26.

    Makes no difference how police are structured, they're all the same the last line of defense between the haves and have nots and not to be trusted anymore, I've held this opinion since the mid eighties and would not even call on the police for help in any matter, they're a joke unfit for purpose.

  • Comment number 27.

    9. At 1:59pm on 12 Jan 2011, Toothpick Harry wrote:

    Does it matter? The only thing they're good at is persecuting the motorist, give them something important to do such as upholding the law in the community or solving a murder and they're found wanting.
    ==========================================================================
    Reality Alert, if you are speeding or using a mobile phone while driving or carry too many passengers you are breaking the law. Some motorists seem to think the law doesn't apply to them once they are behind the wheel.

  • Comment number 28.

    What the police needs, rather like health and education, is better training, and a focus on doing the job rather than bloated bureaucracy.

    Major changes to the structure would just be a distraction.

    By all means rationalise, by sharing back-office functions. But the real problem across our public sector is not the strucure, it's the bureaucracy, unwillingness to take responsibility, tendency to chuck sickies, and sheer lack of performance. Restructuring won't change that.

  • Comment number 29.

    Why does it take a recession to wake up the people controlling the purse strings? It just shows you how useless the people running the show actually are when they suddenly apply the brakes before hitting a brick wall which was visible miles away.

    I suppose that's the end of all the Stonewall diversity courses the police have been spending taxpayer's money on?

  • Comment number 30.

    I genuinely don't know the answer to this. On the one hand Scotland certainly does not need eight forces but on the other hand a single force would run the risk of simply becoming Strathclyde Police writ large. In a previous life I spent over 20 years as a prosecutor in the Strathclyde Police force area and I can assure you that that is not an attractive prospect. On balance I think there is a better case for amalgamation - (a) leave Strathclyde to its own devices, (b) merge Grampian and Northern, (c) merge Tayside, Central Scotland and Fife and (d) merge Dumfries and Galloway with Lothian and Borders. Doing it that way you end up with four forces instead of the current eight which should allow streamlining of management and reduction of bureaucracy but should also retain a reasonable local element. Whatever format is eventually adopted it will be essential that there is a clear vision and a strong political drive for reform otherwise the police will default to their usual position of self-interested empire-building and infighting which will be even worse if they are all under the one roof, so to speak.

  • Comment number 31.

    A a single police force is an absolute way to go. At the moment the UK police is top heavy with big brass and admin...

  • Comment number 32.

    Frankly given the behaviour of the police and the bizarre nature of the court system I'd scrap the whole lot - it would improve society, remove a large amount of thuggish and brutal behaviour, improve safety and save us a stack of money in the process.

    (Mr while middle classed professional middle aged male).

  • Comment number 33.

    « Previous | Main | Next »
    Should there be a single police force?
    10:27 UK time, Wednesday, 12 January 2011

    Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill will set out the options for the future of Scotland's police force. Does it matter how a force is structured?

    Scotland's eight police forces could be merged into just one to save money. The SNP says it would back the merger, rather than compromise frontline policing.

    Labour and the Conservatives both support a single police force, but the Liberal Democrats remain opposed. The Association of Chief Police Officers is split on the issue.

    Are you concerned about changes to the police force? Does it matter how a force is set up? What do you think about current policing?

    Bookmark with:del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit- What's this?
    CommentsPost your commentYou are currently signed in as LabLibConsAreCROOKS. Sign out.

    PreviousNext1. At 1:18pm on 12 Jan 2011, Khuli wrote:
    Presumably the big advantages would be things like consistency of training, better information-sharing and economies of scale.
    As long as forces are still based regionally (so speed or response, or knowledge of local areas isn't compromised) I can't see that it would make any practical difference to Joe Public.

    Complain about this comment

    2. At 1:31pm on 12 Jan 2011, amp46 wrote:
    Just how many Chief and Assistant Chief and Assistant Assistant Chief Constables do you need?

    Complain about this comment

    3. At 1:37pm on 12 Jan 2011, John Mc wrote:
    1. At 1:18pm on 12 Jan 2011, Khuli wrote:

    Presumably the big advantages would be things like consistency of training, better information-sharing and economies of scale.

    ==============================================================
    agreed with an emphasis on visibility on the streets, and not just in cars.

    Complain about this comment

    4. At 1:40pm on 12 Jan 2011, jack wrote:
    At least a National Police Force would eliminate the pet barmy ideas and schemes enforced by local Chief Constables. Grey areas of law enforcement though would suffer where there is local tolerances, one prime example is the patchy and volitile policing of prostitution, which in some cases depends on the barmy religious convictions of some Chief Constables, making up the rules are they go along.

    Complain about this comment

    5. At 1:44pm on 12 Jan 2011, ColourSarge wrote:
    The potential is that a single police force would enable back-office admin functions to be consolidated, requiring a reduced admin workforce and thus releasing officers for front-line duties.

    The danger is that a single police force for the whole of Scotland could end up becoming a giant bureaucracy, and that insufficient account would be taken of the different approaches needed between policing urban and inner city areas, contrasted with policing vast tracts of sparsely populated countryside and islands.

    Complain about this comment

    6. At 1:44pm on 12 Jan 2011, SSnotbanned wrote:
    It's a police force.

    How many little empire builders does one need ??

    Complain about this comment

    7. At 1:47pm on 12 Jan 2011, SSnotbanned wrote:
    Is a robbery in Glasgow any different from a robbery in Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Dundee or Inverness ??

    Apparently, there is also such a thing as THE best way of solving a crime.


    Complain about this comment

    8. At 1:49pm on 12 Jan 2011, in_the_uk wrote:
    Central control often misses the individualism necessary to run a branch. While saving costs now it could be a problem as too much on something and too little of another is distributed. However something must be done to cut costs so implemented properly it could work.

    Complain about this comment

    9. At 1:59pm on 12 Jan 2011, Toothpick Harry wrote:
    Does it matter? The only thing they're good at is persecuting the motorist, give them something important to do such as upholding the law in the community or solving a murder and they're found wanting.

    Complain about this comment

    10. At 2:06pm on 12 Jan 2011, Lewis Fitzroy wrote:
    The police force ? One size suits all? it dont' work like that in real life. Only the Russian K.G.B could make that work, same brand but? some soft centres' some hard. Save on cost maybe ? but open to abuse and all manner of tricks Who would trust a super force?

    Complain about this comment

    11. At 2:07pm on 12 Jan 2011, RTFishall wrote:
    Yes, why not? After all we have a single Air Force, Navy, Army and we trust our countires defense to that system.

    Complain about this comment

    12. At 2:08pm on 12 Jan 2011, teedoff wrote:
    In theory this is a great idea. however the practice might not work out that way.

    I notice that MoD in Scotland is being hit inequitably during the drawback of personnel and bases. In the same way any cuts of policing tend to happen at the fringes or less populated areas. So if there is one authority it will natrurally look to protect the high-density populations at the expense of more rural areas, especially most of the Highlands.

    That said, the best thing about one authority is, as has been said, consistency of training and responsibility. Properly introduced, with safeguards against leaving rural areas without policing, this can be a good move and should narrow the pyramid of empire builders.

    Complain about this comment

    13. At 2:09pm on 12 Jan 2011, Subliteratus wrote:
    If there's a serious complaint made against a member or division of the new Scottish Police Service, who investigates it. Themselves? English, Welsh, and Irish police officers all operate in different legal jurisdictions. Police officers investigating their colleagues has about as much value as asking school children to mark their own homework.

    Complain about this comment

    14. At 2:13pm on 12 Jan 2011, RTFishall wrote:
    Hi, This is a question to the Moderators (I don't know where else I can ask).
    After a posting before my message appears it says "All new members are pre-moderated initially". I have been a member of SYS almost since its inception. How long is it before I'm not classed as a new member?
    Please don't just reject this posting. I can be emailed at [Personal details removed by Moderator]
    Thanks

    Complain about this comment

    15. At 2:17pm on 12 Jan 2011, Aneeta Trikk wrote:
    The key phrase is from the SNP "to protect frontline provision". In other words the alternatives may involve unacceptable cuts in provision. And at the core of the problem is money. The ACPO remain equivocal presumably because there will be blood letting at their level.

    It is good to see the red and blue pies in unison for a change and I think we can safely ignore the the unpleasant yellow gunge from the custard tarts who are well past their sell-by date anyway.





    Complain about this comment

    16. At 2:19pm on 12 Jan 2011, Often Rejected wrote:
    Good idea which will save money.

    All these tasks could be taught centrally ...

    1 Stitch-ups
    2 Use of Police Computers for personal use
    3 How to make prisoners fall down steps
    4 Get DNA from sweet-paper droppers
    5 Get motorists for absolutely anything
    6 Hiding in police cars

    and more ...

    Wizard idea!

    Complain about this comment

    17. At 2:24pm on 12 Jan 2011, Hilda Williams wrote:
    the army has different regiments trained to a high standard,each regiment has it's own method of training,each has it's own traditions and cultures,each controlled by a superior command.Nothing wrong with the army,so why the fuss over a home based police force with just a small territorial land space to watch over.There has to be another reason other than cost for change.
    Putting all the police in one bag is not a good idea,especially when terrorists are hard at work dismantling the structure of a well trained individual company of policemen.
    To cut costs on policing the general public,is a crime and what ever policy governments have in mind north or south should not make the hole already made deeper than it already is.

    Complain about this comment

    18. At 2:24pm on 12 Jan 2011, ziggyboy wrote:
    Yes there should be a single police force. Crime is crime and maybe if there were less chiefs and a lot more indians it would help in the reduction of crime.

    Also the law is the law and doesn't or shouldn't vary from for
    force to force. The only thing standing in the way of this change is the people who will see it as their right to be promoted to Chief Constable etc.

    The same should be done with Education, the NHS and all public service bodies which are split into bits. If all these bodies were singing off the same hymn sheet, service to the public would I'm sure improve and at the end of the day cost less.

    Complain about this comment

    19. At 2:26pm on 12 Jan 2011, steve wrote:
    Presumably the big advantages would be things like consistency of training, better information-sharing and economies of scale.
    As long as forces are still based regionally (so speed or response, or knowledge of local areas isn't compromised) I can't see that it would make any practical difference to Joe Public.

    ----------
    The vast majority of regional police forces througout the UK do this, already, because of its nature much local policing particularly in rural areas can not actually benefit from economies of scale.

    It is worth bearing in mind that even if all the Constabluaries in Scotland were mereged the resulting force would be approximately half the size and covering less than half the population currently covered by the London Metroplitan Police

    Complain about this comment

    20. At 2:30pm on 12 Jan 2011, Dr Bunsen Honeydew wrote:
    3. At 1:37pm on 12 Jan 2011, John Mc wrote:

    1. At 1:18pm on 12 Jan 2011, Khuli wrote:

    Presumably the big advantages would be things like consistency of training, better information-sharing and economies of scale.

    ==============================================================
    agreed with an emphasis on visibility on the streets, and not just in cars.

    Why are some people still obsessed with the mythical "bobby on the beat" syndrome? I see no fewer police on the streets where I live today than I did back in the 60s and 70s.

    Complain about this comment

    21. At 2:38pm on 12 Jan 2011, Former_Canuck wrote:
    Most definitely. Not only is the move likely to save money but the removal of barriers and turf wars is likely to improve performance. In a country as geographically small as Britain there is no need for multiple departments.

    Complain about this comment

    22. At 2:43pm on 12 Jan 2011, you wrote:
    Same old rubbish, just a different day. It won't change anything - not even krispy kreme donut sales.

    Complain about this comment

    23. At 2:48pm on 12 Jan 2011, Peter_Sym wrote:
    In Scotland's case with a population of only ~5million a single national force would be policing far less citizens than the Metropolitan police manages in London, so I see no real problems and many obvious benefits.

    Incidentally the reason we don't have a single force in the UK is that the 'super chief constable' would be one of the most powerful people in the whole country and completely unelected. Britain has avoided dictatorship and revolution with a policy of not allowing one person too much power. This is why we have MI5 reporting to the home secretary and MI6 reporting to the foreign secretary etc.

    I also agree with post #20. Why the obsession with 'bobbies on the beat'? If an axe-wielding murderer is smashing my door down I want cops there as soon as possible. They can respond far faster in cars than on foot.

    Complain about this comment

    24. At 2:51pm on 12 Jan 2011, Peter_Sym wrote:
    17. At 2:24pm on 12 Jan 2011, Hilda Williams wrote:
    the army has different regiments trained to a high standard,each regiment has it's own method of training,each has it's own traditions and cultures,each controlled by a superior command.Nothing wrong with the army
    _______________________________________________________

    Actually all army training is done on a central basis: if you join the Armoured Corps (as I did) you train at Bovington Camp, join the Infantry and its Catterick etc. My regiment was made by amalgamating 4 old regiments and it worked pretty well. If you're making Army v Police comparisions you could argue a case for merger and centralisation just as easily.

    Complain about this comment

    25. At 2:53pm on 12 Jan 2011, Lucy Clake wrote:
    Of course there should be a single force I can't see any arguement against it. First it would save a tremendous lot of paper work but most important criminals have soon worked out that if they do a crime just over the county border there is less chance they will be detected. This is exactly the same in the US where cross state crime is very common
    Much of the whole cross county decision making and services cause problems. If there is to be a big development it is always on a county border it cuts down the opposition. Just look at motorway service stations, airports etc it's no coincidence that they are on borders between counties. The criminals have also thought about it. If you live on a county border there is more chance of you being visited by a thief.

    Complain about this comment

    26. At 2:54pm on 12 Jan 2011, Sickofpoliticians wrote:
    Makes no difference how police are structured, they're all the same the last line of defense between the haves and have nots and not to be trusted anymore, I've held this opinion since the mid eighties and would not even call on the police for help in any matter, they're a joke unfit for purpose.

    ------------------

    I can be critical of the police sometimes but I wouldn't go that bloody far. Although I have some concerns with the police I'd like to think I could call on them if for example people were being held at gunpoint in a bank.

    If you wouldn't call the police for help in any matter, how on earth would you deal with multiple armed bank robbers?

  • Comment number 34.

    It does not matter whether there is one or a multitude of police forces, the result will be the same ie very few crimes solved or even acknowledged. Except motoring offences of course.
    All police pay, awards and promotion should be made on the basis of pure merit and solving real CRIMES.

  • Comment number 35.

    Well done Scotland you lead the UK pack yet again. Previous ideas about regionalisation of government services has met with less than enthusiastic reception and indeed many of these ideas in England have been "kicked into touch". Management and administration are an expensive overhead in any business and that the Scots have recognised that consolidation of various police forces into a national force is welcome and perhaps the most sensible cost saving news I have heard in years. OK, bring on the ambulance service, fire service, child protection services and service one can think about and if not "nationalise" it regionalise it. Well done again Scotland.

  • Comment number 36.

    If Shanghai - a city with around a 20 million people or around a third of this entire country - can manage with a single Police force it shouldnt be too difficult for a population of around 5 million. If fact, on that basis, we only need a total of three Police Forces to cover the entire country. That would thin out the top heavy management structure!

  • Comment number 37.

    yes there should i fail to see why in one force a fine could be £40 and yet the county next to it you could pay £80!!

    one country on set of rules and punishments please?

  • Comment number 38.

    What the hell happened there? Anyway what I actually meant to post was this:

    26. At 2:54pm on 12 Jan 2011, Sickofpoliticians wrote:
    Makes no difference how police are structured, they're all the same the last line of defense between the haves and have nots and not to be trusted anymore, I've held this opinion since the mid eighties and would not even call on the police for help in any matter, they're a joke unfit for purpose.

    ------------------

    I can be critical of the police sometimes but I wouldn't go that bloody far. Although I have some concerns with the police I'd like to think I could call on them if for example people were being held at gunpoint in a bank.

    If you wouldn't call the police for help in any matter, how on earth would you deal with multiple armed bank robbers?

  • Comment number 39.

    the army has different regiments trained to a high standard,each regiment has it's own method of training,each has it's own traditions and cultures,each controlled by a superior command.Nothing wrong with the army,so why the fuss over a home based police force with just a small territorial land space to watch over.There has to be another reason other than cost for change.
    Putting all the police in one bag is not a good idea,especially when terrorists are hard at work dismantling the structure of a well trained individual company of policemen.
    To cut costs on policing the general public,is a crime and what ever policy governments have in mind north or south should not make the hole already made deeper than it already is.
    ------------------------------
    I sort of understand this, each town/city has some very different criminal activities. Some areas are know for violence, others drunk and other area have large amounts of drug dealings. So there is definately still room for having regional forces. But we do need some more consistency, officers from different regions seem to have different attitudes to how some crimes are dealt with.
    But i would not expect London police officers to be trained in the same way as say Norfolk. I think major cities need to have special training to deal with the types of criminals that operate there.
    But lets face it, this isn't about rationlising, it's about cutting costs. We won't know how it works out until something serious happens and we see how it is dealt with. This is generally the way we deal things here!

  • Comment number 40.

    Scotland is leading the way, in my view, on this issue. In the current financial climate, defending the retention of 43 Police Forces in England & Wales makes no sense. One of the solutions that could be considered is to reduce the number of Police Forces in England & Wales to coincide with the current ACPO Regions. This could bring about significant savings by reducing the number of HQs and associated support staff whilst protecting the integrity and numbers of the front-line. Metropolitan London would remain a special case. In the process of similar changes in the Armed Services, these are the sort of steps that have been taken successfully. I would not envisage a single national police force for England, although it might work for Wales. Within each ACPO Region force area would be Police Divisions based on the boundaries of the existing 43 police forces. The area boundaries of Fire & Rescue and Ambulance, whatever they might be in the future, should as a matter of principle, not cross ACPO Region boundaries.

  • Comment number 41.

    Interesting from reading the 30-odd posts how little majority of posters know about the criminal justice system: big yellow speed camera's have nothing to do with the police. They're run by your local authority.

    To get pulled over by traffic police (in the unlikely event of actually having any traffic police.....) means you're REALLY speeding, driving so badly you give them cause to breathalyse you or you're doing something dumb like using a mobile phone (which periodically causes fatal pile ups)

    The police do not set sentences or fines- thats the courts job. Nor do they decide whether to prosecute or not- in England thats the CPS's job and in Scotland the Procurator Fiscals. If the courts decide to fine someone 10p for attempted murder that has nothing to do with the police. The judiciary and the cops are completely independent.

  • Comment number 42.

    33. At 3:12pm on 12 Jan 2011, LabLibConsAreCROOKS wrote:
    « Previous | Main | Next »

    etc etc

    ================================000000000000=============================
    What's the purpose of such serial repetition with so little added at the end of such a needlessly lengthy post?.
    Maybe I'm missing something, but what are the moderaters doing letting such a pointless post through?
    I just thank my lucky stars, count my blessings & keep my fingers crossed that I'm not superstitious, otherwise one might think there's some ulterior motive here.

  • Comment number 43.

    It will end up like the NATIONAL Health Service, with one area charging another for specailist services, with a post code lottery to boot.

  • Comment number 44.

    There is no way I would trust any Govt with a single police force. In particular the idea of Labour controlling a single stazi type force fills me with horror.

    It is absolutely critical to have at least three forces to ensure that there is no political interference and that policing standards are upheld.

  • Comment number 45.

    Oh, just seen #38 after I posted.
    That explains it then.

  • Comment number 46.

    Yes and the should do the same with education and health, and reduce the number of councils. There's far too much duplication and empire building resulting in a vastly inflated number of chiefs and assistant chiefs all overpaid and pretty pointless!

  • Comment number 47.

    I can give two examples of why the forces in the East Midlands (Notts, Lincs, Derbyshire and Leicestershire) should be merged:

    One is personal: I witnessed a very nasty accident near East Midlands airport: that is closer to Nottingham than any other city, is technically in Leicestershire and has a Derbyshire post code. When I called 999 I was connected to Leicestershire police but they couldn't attend as the crash was just over the border in Notts. In the end I needed to use 118 118 to find the local Notts station number! That delay could have cost lives.

    The other reason that DID cost lives is this one:
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/lincolnshire/8456490.stm
    A couple shot in Lincs. by a gang from Nottingham. Nottingham and Lincolnshire police didn't talk and Lincs police had no idea that witness protection people from Notts were in their county. Ridiculous situation.

  • Comment number 48.

    I support a single management and training structure to policing, but how they operate, and where revenues come from, I do not.

    Society is well aware of how many authorities have developed quangoes, to enforce traffic violations, and yes raise millions! why can't that money be redirected back into policing. and not just for traffic calming and or an increase of speeding instruments now becoming more computerised, all costing more to manage.

    If we look abroad, we soon see how traffic offences pay for that policing, hence public money through taxes, should be used for crime only, not traffic policing, as we already see with an increase of prestige vehicles as is the case by many authorities.

  • Comment number 49.

    38. At 3:25pm on 12 Jan 2011, LabLibConsAreCROOKS wrote:

    ------------------

    I can be critical of the police sometimes but I wouldn't go that bloody far. Although I have some concerns with the police I'd like to think I could call on them if for example people were being held at gunpoint in a bank.

    If you wouldn't call the police for help in any matter, how on earth would you deal with multiple armed bank robbers?
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------

    I wouldn't, I'm not a bank manager, if I was in the bank I'd be doing as I was told, its only money, and not mine, my defense lies with me.

    I had a friend up till November, arrested, brutalized and died within 45 minutes in police custody, (CS spray and batons) an unarmed man, so no, I won't be involving the police to sort any problems in my neighborhood, too many strong arm tactics that are simply overlooked by the courts or their own so-called investigative bodies, as far as I'm concerned its us and them, they are part of the them.

  • Comment number 50.

    There's really nothing quite like the public sector for duplicating work.

    Reducing eight different police forces to one just has to make sense. Quite apart from the overlap and the practical difficulties of regional boundaries, assigning duties to officers who can cover the entire country without passing the work onto another division can only speed up crime-solving. Information-sharing would become a thing of the past.

    I suspect that some senior officers are opposed to such a move on the grounds that their authority will be diluted. Good job, too. They are probably the ones wandering about in ceremonial dress whose pay is out of all proportion to the service they give.

    A national police in England would be welcome, as well.

  • Comment number 51.

    Should there be a single police force?
    Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill will set out the options for the future of Scotland's police force. Does it matter how a force is structured?

    Yes, it matters greatly how a police force is structured, much in the same way as it applies to the armed forces.
    However, a single Police Force? on paper this sounds a good idea, there are certainly plus points here:
    1. It would allow better access to records of a 'suspect' - ie. better comunication between regions and districts.
    2. A far more responsive approach should there be a National Emergency of some description.
    3. it would also ensure a far greater consistancy in training and documentation.
    4. It would also ensure there is a central control that would carry out specialised operations in the anti-terrorist policing and arming suitably trained 'local' officers thereof.

    However there is also another side to the coin here;
    With regional policing, the local officers know the geography of the area, whether it be city, town or farming country, the local officers who know their area also get to know many of the local community, it is this that realy is local policing where tips come from the locals, so if there were to be a single police force this is one thing that should be seriously looked at first.
    It is simply no good moving a city officer to patrol a country area if he/she has no knowledge of the geography or the residents of the area.
    My other concern with this Single Police Force, it is a political decision, therefor the politicians are likely to want to reduce policing in one area to expand it in another, for what ever reason, that would just not be acceptable, but many politicians are not acceptable or indeed responsible.

    Scotland's eight police forces could be merged into just one to save money. The SNP says it would back the merger, rather than compromise frontline policing:
    Providing it does not compramise frontline policing - that is the point here, front line policing in the geographical area that the police officers know.

    Labour and the Conservatives both support a single police force, but the Liberal Democrats remain opposed. The Association of Chief Police Officers is split on the issue:
    Again it comes down to that dreaded word economics (that strangely doesn't affect Bank Bonuses or Network Rail bonuses) this word economics is really about numbers, it has nothing to do with policing per se, but what ever happens the powers that be - the politicains - are going to reduce the Police numbers, we all know that contary to Tricky Dicky Daves comment that crime will not increase that it will increase, that is a simple matter of mathmatics.

    Are you concerned about changes to the police force? Does it matter how a force is set up? What do you think about current policing?
    Current Policing? No Police force, even with the best will in the world is going to be perfect, but to perfectly honest, the UK has one of the best Police Forces in the world, to play around with that could be courting many problems.

  • Comment number 52.

    #27. At 3:04pm on 12 Jan 2011, LeftieAgitator wrote:
    9. At 1:59pm on 12 Jan 2011, Toothpick Harry wrote:

    Does it matter? The only thing they're good at is persecuting the motorist, give them something important to do such as upholding the law in the community or solving a murder and they're found wanting.

    =========================================================================

    Reality Alert, if you are speeding or using a mobile phone while driving or carry too many passengers you are breaking the law. Some motorists seem to think the law doesn't apply to them once they are behind the wheel.

    ----------------------

    Too right! As well as breaking the law, if you are speeding or using a mobile phone whilst driving, you are more likely to cause an accident and possibly injure or kill yourself, your passengers or someone else. Laws are there for a reason, and that includes motorists.

  • Comment number 53.

    13. At 2:09pm on 12 Jan 2011, Subliteratus wrote:

    If there's a serious complaint made against a member or division of the new Scottish Police Service, who investigates it. Themselves? English, Welsh, and Irish police officers all operate in different legal jurisdictions. Police officers investigating their colleagues has about as much value as asking school children to mark their own homework."

    In a 'single police force', I wouldn't expect all the police officers to know each other. Maybe around the borders of the current regions there would be more mixing with officers from the neighbouring regions.

    Essentially it would mean a shuffling of the management roles, and possibly centralisation of some jobs such as payroll, but the front-line officers wouldn't change, and probably wouldn't notice much difference.

    I'd still expect regional 'managers' (or chiefs, or whatever they want to be called) in a single national force who can argue for the needs of their particular region. I'd expect (hope) there would still be regional dispatch centres and so on.

    I've never understood why there were several police forces in a single legislative region. Surely it just causes issues where boundaries are concerned, or when a single criminal acts across several regions.

  • Comment number 54.

    #33 "What's the purpose of such serial repetition with so little added at the end of such a needlessly lengthy post?.
    Maybe I'm missing something, but what are the moderaters doing letting such a pointless post through?
    I just thank my lucky stars, count my blessings & keep my fingers crossed that I'm not superstitious, otherwise one might think there's some ulterior motive here."

    Its not a conspiracy. There's something wrong with the HYS software. I made a post a few weeks back that also replicated every post before mine. God knows why the Mods let it through but deleted so many other posts (including one calling a well known British serial killer in Broadmoor 'insane'... the truth isn't libel. If he's not insane why is he in a secure mental hospital!!!)

  • Comment number 55.

    The Idea of a National Police force might seem to promise savings, but there is a parallel to the Military to be drawn. Whilst there is in theory only one army, there is a need for subdivision. There are actually more Police Officers than soldiers at present, doing a wide range of activities, with a wide range of skills with a wide range of training needs.
    The constant call is for 'Local Policing' not nationalisation, the complaint is of closure of Police Stations. The Police are already closely controlled by the Home Office, a body that has for years been shown as unfit for purpose. The arguments about procurement are at best spurious, the MOD is hardly the role model for cenetral purchasing. When the Audit Commisssion looked at the vehicle workshops and vehicle purchasing in Hampshire they found that it could not be bettered, the management were in full control of costs, and negotiated the lowest prices for ALL of the cars purchased. The same applied to Uniforms and other equipment.
    The biggest waste of resources in Policing results directly from Government action in the passing of hundreds of Laws, Rules and Regulations, whilst failing to provide the equipment or facilities to operate them.
    Do you want Police officers with no local allegiance, or do you want 'Citizens Locally appointed with authority under the Crown'
    as at present.

  • Comment number 56.

    43. At 3:48pm on 12 Jan 2011, paulmerhaba wrote:
    It will end up like the NATIONAL Health Service, with one area charging another for specailist services, with a post code lottery to boot.
    _______________________________

    Why would MERGING all Scotlands forces do that? Surely having 8 forces rather than 1 increases the 'post code lottery' chances? If there's only 1 force how can one area charge another for specialist services? I can certainly happen now if Highlands & Islands need specialist forensics from strathclyde.

  • Comment number 57.

    While I have just posted my message suggesting the the Scottish proposal is rolled out in England, I have to confess to a complete change of heart, and hope that regional forces are allowed to remain in England.

    I have been reminded that our local constabulary emailed me just before Christmas to say that seasonal greetings cards were being sent to all known offenders warning them to stay on the right side of the law.

    Hardened criminals who could read must have been shaking in their boots.

  • Comment number 58.

    27. At 3:04pm on 12 Jan 2011, LeftieAgitator wrote:
    9. At 1:59pm on 12 Jan 2011, Toothpick Harry wrote:

    Does it matter? The only thing they're good at is persecuting the motorist, give them something important to do such as upholding the law in the community or solving a murder and they're found wanting.
    ==========================================================================
    Reality Alert, if you are speeding or using a mobile phone while driving or carry too many passengers you are breaking the law. Some motorists seem to think the law doesn't apply to them once they are behind the wheel.
    =======================================================================
    Reality check - probably every single motorist in the UK is guilty of speeding every time they get in a car. Instead of setting cameras up for speeding, they could be used for catching phone users. I do agree that some (and it's usually the same type of person, matcho man, anti-social mutt, posh tosh etc) think they're above the law but that's more the fault of the punishment system. If people are found by a court of law to be responsible for an accident due to drink driving, use of phone whilst driving or speeding, that should be a life-time ban. Fining people £60 (espescially posh tosh) has no affect on their finances or their conscience. The point with my comment being, the only visible presence of police is of them hiding behind a hedge or in a lay-by waiting for an unsuspecting motorist to fall into their trap. Around North Wales they're even hiding in horse boxes and other non-descript vehicles. The police have the technology at their disposal to catch on static camera's (as they do in patrol cars with number plate recognition) any un-insured, untaxed, MOT absentee motorist or stolen vehicle. It would be far better to alert the police via a data collection centre than to have police waiting at the roadside for it to happen. If the programmes 'police camera action, motorway cops and night cops' are anything to go by, a good proportion of car crimes are by people who's origins are not from our shores, now there's a bunch of people who think our laws don't apply to them.

  • Comment number 59.

    44. At 3:48pm on 12 Jan 2011, Wee-Scamp wrote:
    There is no way I would trust any Govt with a single police force. In particular the idea of Labour controlling a single stazi type force fills me with horror.
    _________________________________________

    Funny, I seem to recall it was Mrs Thatcher took cops from 10 or 11 forces and used them as a private army to beat the hell out of striking miners.

    In any case the Home Secretary effectively controls all the Police forces anyway. The reason we have multiple forces is to stop an unelected super Chief Constable having too much power. Its why most other democracies also have multiple forces and make sure that 1 cop isn't too powerful (The french have about 4 types of cop, the Italians have the Polizi, Carabeneri, Guardia de Finanza, the US have Sherifs, Marshalls, County cops, state cops, FBI etc)

  • Comment number 60.

    Whilst I'm all for reducing the number of police forces, I'm rather reluctant to have a single force - it gives too much power to one CPO and - if something does go awry - who will do the investigating?

    I can see the argument for consistency of training, but policing in the cities is not the same as policing on the islands or the highlands as anyone living in rural areas and having city police come in, for example to assist local police when an event is on, will tell you.

    On the other hand, having a centralized system would cut duplication. I'm afraid I was naive enough to think they communicated between forces!

  • Comment number 61.

    Should there be a single police force?

    It depends on the area - I do not see a problem with their being a single police force in Scotland (as there are only 8 at the present time), or Wales or Northern Ireland for that matter, but this would not work in England because of the large amount of police forces we already have. The London Metropolitan Police Force alone covers more people than in the whole of Scotland.

  • Comment number 62.

    You can't compare this concept with the Army, Navy or Airforce - we're talking about a single police force for SCOTLAND, not the UK.

    And there aren't many people in Scotland because they all seem to live in England.

    So who cares?

  • Comment number 63.

    I was initially opposed to the idea of a single police service for Scotland. But I am gradually coming round to the idea. Kenny MacAskill rightly underlined the concerns that I - and, I suspect, many others - have regarding local accountability. But I am increasingly persuaded that an appropriately structured national service, with divisions based on and overseen by local authorities, could actually improve local accountability.

    As to the risk of such a service developing a central belt "black hole" sucking resources away from rural areas, I think it not beyond the wit of man to devise safeguards against such an eventuality. For a start, we might consider placing the administrative headquarters of the service outwith the central belt. Perth or even Inverness might be good options.

    A divisional structure should also militate against any over-centralisation. Add to this some sort of expenditure gearing mechanism - a sort of Barnett Formula for police spending - and I think the Highland and Borders regions may feel suitable reassured.

    One thing is certain, however. If such a change is to be made I want an SNP administration managing it. There is no way something as crucial as this can be entrusted to Iain Gray. The very thought makes me shudder!

  • Comment number 64.

    I think a local police force is essential for its knowledge of local matters, and a good relationship with the community it serves.
    Funnily enough, although my village lies some fifty miles east of central London, we have many more serving Metropolitan Police officers resident here, than local coppers. They enjoy getting away from their workplace, and can live an entirely normal off-duty social life.

  • Comment number 65.

    "Should there be a single police force in SCOTLAND" should be the HYS question.

    In comparison to England, Scotland and it's devolved government is a small part, only geographically, of the so-called UK - yet still receives a higher proportion of English taxes and EU subsides too than England - yet has powers over English laws. But that's another debate.

    Therefore, it's up to the Scottish people to decide the destiny and structure of their own police force.

    In fact, I wonder why Scotland wants to be part of the British Isles; Britain, UK, Britain et al at all?

    Furthermore, it would be interesting to hear from all citizens in Scotland on this HYS question.

    Moreover, perhaps Welsh citizens too have an opinion on the competence of their devolved assembly too?

    In, conclusion do any of you and me, in the so-called UK trust the integrity of our politicians?

    Are our politicians feeding off division for their own vanity? Have the people of UK or Britain been divided for too long by the powerful few?

  • Comment number 66.

    The idea will not work - currently there is one chief constable per 2 - 3 million or so inhabitants and between 0.5 and 1 million criminal incidents reported in his/her constabulary. Surely we need more not less ?
    In Scotland the population is much lower and there may be a case, but in the densely populated areas of England we need more Police at all levels.

  • Comment number 67.

    49. At 3:58pm on 12 Jan 2011, Sickofpoliticians wrote:
    38. At 3:25pm on 12 Jan 2011, LabLibConsAreCROOKS wrote:

    ------------------

    I can be critical of the police sometimes but I wouldn't go that bloody far. Although I have some concerns with the police I'd like to think I could call on them if for example people were being held at gunpoint in a bank.

    If you wouldn't call the police for help in any matter, how on earth would you deal with multiple armed bank robbers?
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------

    I wouldn't, I'm not a bank manager, if I was in the bank I'd be doing as I was told, its only money, and not mine, my defense lies with me.

    I had a friend up till November, arrested, brutalized and died within 45 minutes in police custody, (CS spray and batons) an unarmed man, so no, I won't be involving the police to sort any problems in my neighborhood, too many strong arm tactics that are simply overlooked by the courts or their own so-called investigative bodies, as far as I'm concerned its us and them, they are part of the them.

    ---------------

    I recall at least a couple of cases where people have died in police custody. It sickens and frightens me so I have to partially agree with you. Like I said I do have concerns. However, if I saw innocent people at gun point I would call the police straight away. You cant seriously think the police would come after me and beat me to death for that. They would more likely prosecute you for walking away and doing nothing.

  • Comment number 68.

    It would be a good idea to have 1 police force, but it would involve removing many of the "higher ups" who's jobs would no longer be needed. These people have done good work to earn these positions, so it would be unfair to just take them away again.

    Thus, this change couldn't happen overnight. Perhaps we should just form a way of merging police forces as their respective leaders retire until there is just one. Once a position is vacant, don't fill it.

  • Comment number 69.

    The Police service certainly needs to be re-organised as it remains one of the last unreformed bastions of neanderthal trade unionism in the UK,along with teaching.The management is top heavy,not uncommon in the public sector,is overpaid,again not uncommon in the public sector, and it is not doing it's job,once again a common public sector failing, ie some forces have more officers on sick leave/early retirement than are actually serving on the streets.Forces should be amalgamated,at least that would get the costs down.

  • Comment number 70.

    If it was run like HM Prison Service you'd better watch out-management so far removed they haven't a clue what's going on at the sharp end.From what I've seen and heard of Senior Police Officers in County and Met Police Forces(or Services as some like to be called)they have a far better handle on what's happening locally and indeed some have vociferously rubbished pointless and spurious government targets that have no bearing on reality-you won't get a prison governor brave enough to do that!
    There is certainly room for consolidation in the police, so some merging of forces is necessary and will save money.
    As for information sharing, since the Ian Huntley fiasco that highlighted a woeful lack of co-ordination between different police areas, this issue is more adequately addressed via the Police National Computer(PNC) and other such tools.

  • Comment number 71.

    Smaller police forces are preferable as they are more responsive to local issues and have better local knowledge. Prima facie, it may seem a good idea to have a national force, but the danger is it would be too unwieldy and not have its ears close enough to the ground. Keep them small and local.

  • Comment number 72.

    Should there be a single police force?

    Would it stop them murdering people with impunity?

  • Comment number 73.

    NO.

    There is scope for a reduction in the number of forces - 4 perhaps - and sharing of HQ functions but NOT merging the 8 forces into a single force.

  • Comment number 74.

    66. David
    "In Scotland the population is much lower and there may be a case, but in the densely populated areas of England we need more Police at all levels."

    Pay attention! The question only relates to Scotland. And nobody is talking about reducing police numbers. Only about reducing the number of separate forces - IN SCOTLAND!

  • Comment number 75.

    No. There should be many small police forces with the minimum of centralised specialist resources and management.
    You get much better results with varied innovative methods and ways of doing things. Variety allows for different approaches to be tried and evaluated and for improvements to be noted and then learned by other organisations.
    Large organisations become hidebound and stuck in bureaucratic ways or they try new fashionable, trendy ideas that sound good but which often turn out to be wrong or wasteful. See what happened with schools and the NHS. Compare with the success of variety in private independent schools and private medical care.
    Professional people thrive in smaller organisations where they really can contribute personally and don't have to do everything according to some stupid bureaucratic rulebook.
    Since police have to do with the application of laws, the government should try long term experiments, lasting several years, where different laws are applied in different regions. It may well be that large areas of legislation can be simply deleted or simplified with no significant adverse effect. When people are given back responsibility for their actions you get better results from them than when micro-managed and controlled by overwhelming rules and regulations.

  • Comment number 76.

    Should there be a single police force?

    It makes sense, as long as it can provide the SAME or improved level of service & functionality while cutting back costs.

    The problem is, is that in any major changes there will be a HUGE requirement of associated expense costs, hence these costs may ultimately result in cuts to frontline services to gain more immediate required/demanded savings.

    Another major problem with all this centralisation is that too many eggs are being put into one box, hence the effects of ANY serious failure of systems can cause undue catastrophy.

    Security is as much about diversifying and spreading out defensive and emergency services.

    Its like putting all our airforce onto one airfield or just having one naval base.

    Cost savings may be a necessity, but creating much much greater risk factors is a FALSE ECONOMY, and a DANGEROUS one.

  • Comment number 77.

    I understand that this is HYS related to the structure of the Scottish Police however I believe that its high time that the same line of thinking re potential rationalisation was applied to England and Wales which are covered by 43 different forces, each of course with whole echelon of senior officers, local budgets, localised purchasing arrangements, local premises, localised equipment and infrastructure including I.T./ communications, local 'branding' ie cars, uniforms, documentation etc. This inefficient and unecessarily costly set up is obviously an archaic left over from the days before motorised transport, modern road systems, and modern communications. The 'geography' has been effectively 'shrunk' by these ie 'shrunk' since the days of bicycles and the artificial limits of County boundaries. There are those who are understandably concerned that local knowledge and contact might be damaged as a consequence of rationalising ie by reducing the number of forces however it can be argued that in many cases this has already been abandoned, whilst I believe in any case that rationalising the overall structure need not have this impact at all in fact achieved efficiencies should help pay for more 'feet on the street'. The Chief Constables of course do not find rationalisation appealing or even seem to actively consider this as in many cases this would be a case of 'turkeys voting for Christmas', instead they are irresponsively tending to threaten to reduce front line forces as their response to achieving a reduction in spending.

  • Comment number 78.

    71. LoisUsher
    "Smaller police forces are preferable as they are more responsive to local issues and have better local knowledge."

    Police forces, whatever their size, are neither responsive nor knowledgeable. That is an attribute of individual officers and operational units. And these would still be local even within a national service.

  • Comment number 79.

    A single police force? If it means they all end up acting like the Met then no.

  • Comment number 80.

    Should there be a single police force?
    That would depend on leadership, agendas etc.
    It's like all these questions - until these plans have run for about 5+ years no-one can guess what the reality will be. You can have a good educated "guess" though.

  • Comment number 81.

    It might give us more consistent policing. It would also make for a very interesting public sector pay jump ... it would have to have a head and regional heads which obviously needs greater pay to cover the additional responsibility for what will simply be a political role. Crazy.

    How about simply improve communication and coordination between all the forces. Remove the single chief-super role and replace with a regional policing council (ie a monthly meeting) to prevent any one force going off on another crazy idea or anti-motorist vendetta.

    Technology would help if it was joined up enough to help spot and resource (cross-force) trend changes etc. I suspect the country can't afford another open-ended IT contract though...

  • Comment number 82.

    Kenny Macaskill is of questionable competence.
    Anything he says is highly politicised and he is strongly anti-English.
    Personally I wouldn't rate anything he has come up with as a good idea.
    Never forget it was MacAskill who freed the Lybian bomber because he was going to die soon.
    That convicted murderer is still going strong more than a year later.
    He's an idiot.

  • Comment number 83.

    72. At 5:07pm on 12 Jan 2011, Ax0l0tl wrote:
    Should there be a single police force?

    Would it stop them murdering people with impunity?


    ==============

    grow up

  • Comment number 84.

    75. satsig
    "Compare with the success of variety in private independent schools and private medical care."

    And how much "success" do you imagine private independent schools would enjoy if they had to provide for all-comers rather than the select few. Or the private health sector if it had to provide A&E, intensive and long-term care, as well as financing the training of its own staff. If you must make comparisons then try to compare like with like.

  • Comment number 85.

    • 52. At 4:03pm on 12 Jan 2011, mofro wrote:
    #27. At 3:04pm on 12 Jan 2011, LeftieAgitator wrote:
    9. At 1:59pm on 12 Jan 2011, Toothpick Harry wrote:

    Does it matter? The only thing they're good at is persecuting the motorist, give them something important to do such as upholding the law in the community or solving a murder and they're found wanting.

    =========================================================================

    Reality Alert, if you are speeding or using a mobile phone while driving or carry too many passengers you are breaking the law. Some motorists seem to think the law doesn't apply to them once they are behind the wheel.

    ----------------------

    Too right! As well as breaking the law, if you are speeding or using a mobile phone whilst driving, you are more likely to cause an accident and possibly injure or kill yourself, your passengers or someone else. Laws are there for a reason, and that includes motorists.


    Agree also, maybe if people stop doing that then the Police could focus extra resources elsewhere. It is pathetic that people do not seem to think running someone over and killing them is not their problem; “it’s just an accident, I was only changing my radio station”.

  • Comment number 86.

    I am a serving officer from a non-central belt force.

    I truly believe that merging the forces into one force would see resources and funding syphoned off into the central belt - the extermities and policing of Scotland would suffer.

    The savings being muted are a mirage Many of the headquarters functions that politicians talk about still require to be carried out and are essential to a quality of service on the front line.

    I acknowledge further savings could be made like elsewhere in the public sector, and I welcome that as a fellow tax payer, but we don't need a single Scottish force to achieve this.

    The fore-runner to this was the Scottish Police Services Authority which has not improved services and actively thwarts local attempts to save money, eg. why buy a laptop locally for £400 when you can procure it via SPSA for £600??

  • Comment number 87.

    82. Mike from Brum
    "Kenny Macaskill is of questionable competence.
    Anything he says is highly politicised and he is strongly anti-English.
    Personally I wouldn't rate anything he has come up with as a good idea.
    Never forget it was MacAskill who freed the Lybian bomber because he was going to die soon.
    That convicted murderer is still going strong more than a year later.
    He's an idiot.
    "

    And yet he can spell "Libyan".

  • Comment number 88.

    Certainly a reduction in the number of forces is required with a dramatic reduction in the number of politician Chief and assistant chief constables. There also needs to be a weeding out of the hundreds of officers employed on diversity and other PC nonsense . These officers should be in the front line, not hiding in back offices making life hard for the officers on the street with ridiculous rules and initiatives. Too many officers enter the force as graduates, spend a minimum of time on the street are promoted then disappear into jobs and offices where they are of little value.

  • Comment number 89.

    Will the tick-box crime solving form be 8 x larger?

  • Comment number 90.

    The main advantage of a single UK-wide police force would be in procurement. But they could manage that if the existing ones got their acts together, bought in bulk and badged as appropriate.

    The main disadvantage would be the ease of applying political pressure to policing. It HAS to remain independent of political expediency and pandering to any party's advantage to retain credibility. Proper local control ensures that what we, the citizens, feel important is dealt with, not what some self-serving idealogically-driven political hack wants.

  • Comment number 91.

    In economic terms it makes sense. But the natural consequences of this is the centralisation of services and functions.

    Of this means that training and HR are done centrally I cannot see it affecting the public.

    But the police need to retain public confidence so if this leads to a degraded local service it will undermine the public's confidence in them. THis I feel is a real danger.

  • Comment number 92.

    59. At 4:14pm on 12 Jan 2011, Peter_Sym wrote:
    44. At 3:48pm on 12 Jan 2011, Wee-Scamp wrote:
    There is no way I would trust any Govt with a single police force. In particular the idea of Labour controlling a single stazi type force fills me with horror.
    _________________________________________

    Funny, I seem to recall it was Mrs Thatcher took cops from 10 or 11 forces and used them as a private army to beat the hell out of striking miners.
    ====================================================
    Peter, congratulations. You win the 'Thatcher' prize for this topic. Not very stiff competition though - it took until post 59

  • Comment number 93.

    86. At 6:14pm on 12 Jan 2011, RC wrote:
    I am a serving officer from a non-central belt force.
    ===================================
    So where do you wear your belt?

  • Comment number 94.

    Scotland’s population is smaller than London and it needs to be governed accordingly. One Police force; one Fire & Rescue service and one Education department. Local authorities are not good at running anything, they cannot even manage to maintain or inspect the roads. The main roads are maintained nationally and are much better than the local roads, well there you are, turn road maintenance over to Roads Scotland

  • Comment number 95.

    Should there be a single police force?

    Without doubt, yes.

  • Comment number 96.

    56. At 4:10pm on 12 Jan 2011, Peter_Sym wrote:
    43. At 3:48pm on 12 Jan 2011, paulmerhaba wrote:
    It will end up like the NATIONAL Health Service, with one area charging another for specailist services, with a post code lottery to boot.
    _______________________________

    Why would MERGING all Scotlands forces do that? Surely having 8 forces rather than 1 increases the 'post code lottery' chances? If there's only 1 force how can one area charge another for specialist services? I can certainly happen now if Highlands & Islands need specialist forensics from strathclyde.


    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    There is only one NATIONAL Health Service?

    A good part of my wife's time at work (NHS) is spent dealing with 'challenges' between one area of the NHS and another.
    A challenge is a dispute over payment between one area of NHS and another over payment for services recieved from one or other areas of NHS.

    Post code lotteries already exist in health, education, social service provision, et al.

    Centralisation/decentralisation of Police Forces is a game played on a regular basis by our politicians after an election victory, it speaks of a lack of joined up thinking, that can been seen through every aspect of our society.

  • Comment number 97.

    What's occurring? Are the tories trying to introduce private competition?

  • Comment number 98.

    peter tobin would have been caught sooner with the one service, means
    one computer.
    we have the scottish prison service and the scottish ambulance service so its a no-brainer. the only thing is the councillors will lose a lot of money and power when they abolish the Boards.

  • Comment number 99.

    Not one central police force

    each area must have its own police force

  • Comment number 100.

    95. At 7:09pm on 12 Jan 2011, Dai the Tie wrote:
    Should there be a single police force?

    Without doubt, yes.

    -----------------------------------------------------------------------
    Yes, it can have a baby, get a council house and tax credits.

 

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