Yorkshire merged police underwater search unit launches

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A merged police underwater search unit will serve all four forces across the Yorkshire and Humber region from Monday.

Police chiefs said the move would save more than £400,000 a year.

The plan has been criticised by the West Yorkshire Police Federation but the forces said there would be no difference in service.

The Yorkshire and Humber Underwater Search and Marine Unit will operate from the Humberside Police area.

A team of 10 full-time officers will work at the shared unit at a cost of £719,083.

'Service maintained'

Previously, the forces were spending a combined total of £1.1m each year on 28 divers, five of which were full-time and 23 performing other duties.

Mark Whyman, deputy chief constable for the Yorkshire and Humberside Police Forces, said: "I am confident that the public will not see any difference in service levels."

Andrew Tempest Mitchell, of the West Yorkshire Police Federation, previously said he was "worried from a West Yorkshire perspective that we don't have an active unit within the policing area, which is quite large".

He said: "It's the thin edge of the wedge really. It's the erosion all the time - policing matters, officers and now there is no dedicated presence in West Yorkshire."

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