Rt Hon Lord Lilley

    Peter Lilley, MP for Hitchin and Harpenden, welcomed the recent announcement by the Government there will be no forced police mergers. The climb down came after the only voluntary merger put forward by the police themselves, the proposed merger of the Cumbria and Lancashire forces, collapsed.

    Commenting on the news Peter said: “The Government?s u-turn vindicates those of us who have been against such forced mergers from the start. The reasons that were given for a merger were the issues of terrorism and security, which the Home Office now admits can be best solved by better co-operation between police forces, rather than mergers ? something I have argued since the mergers were first proposed.

    ?Had the plans for forced mergers gone ahead they would have been an expensive and time consuming distraction, and served only to make the police more distant from the communities they serve.

    “The President of the Association of Chief Police Officers has said that if the merger of the Lancashire and Cumbria forces could not be carried out, it was difficult to understand how more complex and costly mergers were still viable(1). I hope the police will now be able to concentrate on what the public want them to do most ? catching criminals.

    “I am glad that the Government has come to its senses on this issue and hope that that they will halt other unpopular mergers in the pipeline, such as the proposal to create a single Primary Care Trust across the whole of Hertfordshire.?