Video from: Devon and Cornwall Police and Crime Commissioner Alison Hernandez
Video from: Dorset Police and Crime Commissioner Martyn Underhill
What is the proposed merger?
Devon & Cornwall Police and Dorset Police have been in a strategic alliance since 2015.
Due to their similar policing styles, values and priorities - as well as strong links with communities and the shared rural, coastal and urban geography - the two forces now work together across the three counties and are working towards an alliance approach in over 30 areas of policing.
Thanks to the hard work of officers and staff there are successful collaborations in some critical areas, such as roads policing, firearms, armed response vehicles and dog units.
Supporting functions like finance, human resources and IT are also part of the alliance.
In September 2017, the two chief constables announced plans to investigate how the alliance could grow and to consider a full merger between the two forces – to consider if a merger would be a practical progression and whether becoming one force would provide a more resilient police service to our communities.
A merged police force will differ from the alliance – the new force would become one legal entity where two currently exist. There would be one chief constable with one chief officer team, one police and crime commissioner with one team of support staff and one Police and Crime Plan.
The savings as a result of creating a new force and the council tax alignment could mean up to 430 extra officers or staff for the new force area. That means more staff for everyone. The council tax alignment is a legal requirement, and subject to Government decision, but should only cost approximately £1 - £3 per month for average (Band D) residents.
A full business case will be presented to the Home Office in October with a decision in principle expected by the end of the year.
If approval is given the proposal will go to Parliament. Full permission to merge will need to be obtained by the beginning of November 2019 in order to tie in with the 2020 PCC elections.
The new force would come into effect in May 2020. If this deadline is missed, change cannot happen statutorily until 2024.