Too Many Chiefs?
Gerry Northam examines why England and Wales are opting for 41 police and crime commissioners heading separate forces, when Scotland is merging its constabularies into one force.
In April next year, the SNP government in Scotland will merge 8 existing constabularies to create a single national police force. This is intended to bring efficiency savings by cutting out duplication of functions and gaining the economies of scale. But the move is proving controversial amid fears that it will damage local accountability and lead to worsening services in some areas.
Next month in England and Wales elections will be held for 41 Police and Crime Commissioners to oversee a continuing patchwork of local forces. The Westminster government sees the Commissioners as signs of its commitment to 'localism'. But seven years ago, Her Majesty's Inspectorate of police said the fragmented network of local forces was 'not fit for purpose'. So, given the cuts the police are facing, is it time for a radical re-organisation south of the border? Gerry Northam investigates.
Producer: Nicola Dowling.