Planned merger of Northumbria and Durham police on hold

A proposed merger between the Durham and Northumbria police forces has been shelved.

The decision has been taken because of the Government's proposals to scrap police authorities by 2012, replacing them with elected commissioners.

It had been suggested that, by merging, the two forces would become more efficient.

A spokesman for both forces said they still hoped to work more closely together in the future.

A statement on behalf of both forces said: "We will continue to seek out new opportunities and ways in which they can collaborate and share services in order to provide more efficient policing in Durham and Northumbria.

"The Home Office has published plans to introduce police and crime commissioners, meaning that the police authorities could be abolished.

"With this uncertainty, both Durham and Northumbria considered it would be inappropriate to continue statutory merger talks at this time."

Councillor Mick Henry, chair of Northumbria Police Authority, said: "Merger talks were right at the time but now we need to refocus our thinking."

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