England

Axed Devon, Cornwall and Dorset police merger saw £380k 'wasted'

Alison Hernandez & Martyn Underhill
Image caption Devon and Cornwall PCC Alison Hernandez opposed the merger, and Dorset PCC Martyn Underhill's office previously said £250,000 was spent on the failed merger

Almost £380,000 was "wasted" on a failed merger between two police forces, figures have revealed.

Plans to merge Devon and Cornwall Police with Dorset Police were called off in October after a police and crime commissioner (PCC) opposed the move.

The Police Federation said it was "horrified" such a "large amount of money has been wasted".

Both police forces said work to create a "robust business case" for the merger could be used in the future.

The £376,798 included consultant fees of more than £190,000, police officer pay totalling almost £119,000 and more than £26,000 on equipment and advertising, a BBC Freedom of Information request has revealed.

In 2017 Shaun Sawyer, Devon and Cornwall's chief constable, said the merger could mean "millions" and perhaps "tens of millions", being saved.

Image caption Andy Berry, from Devon and Cornwall Police Federation, said he was "saddened to learn of the waste of such a large amount of money"

Andy Berry, from Devon and Cornwall Police Federation, said it was PCC Alison Hernandez's decision not to proceed and questioned whether her "concerns could have been ironed out before such a massive expenditure".

"On a day that I've been told that there isn't currently the budget to provide sufficient vehicles for our driver training department, I'm quite saddened to learn of the waste of such a large amount of money," he said.

Previously the office of the Dorset PCC Martyn Underhill said £250,000 had been spent on the failed merger and he had been left "frustrated" by the decision to end the merger plan.

In a joint statement, from both forces and the Dorset PCC, they said the merger work had been used to "strengthen its alliance" project, resulting in "significant efficiencies".

Ms Hernandez has not commented.

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