You might like to go to a special public meeting on July 18th to discuss the governments plans to merge Essex Police with other police forces. It will be at Richmond Hall, High Road , Benfleet at 7.30 pm. There will be an opportunity to discuss other local issues as well in an open forum session with officers from local policing teams.
What’s the background to this? Well, the Labour Government seems very keen to merge local bodies into bigger and bigger units, until they are no longer local.
One example is their schemes to merge various police forces around the country, despite local opposition. In this area they want to merge Essex police with those in Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire. The government’s idea is that by amalgamating forces , you to make them better equipped to tackle high level crime, such as terrorism. However the evidence for this is rather thin.
The Essex Police Authority is facing up to the merger by engaging in a massive amount of public consultation – they are sending a questionnaire to ‘every door in the county’ . Although they are asking the public for their comments, it’s clear that this is part of a campaign to block the government’s scheme – and who can blame them?
The Liberal Democrats have been very critical of these proposals. Ming Campbell asked at Prime Minister’s questions:
?Apart from the issue of the loss of connection with local people, the Prime Minister will know that the Association of Police Authorities estimates the cost of the proposed mergers as something in excess of ?500 million. What will that mean: higher council tax bills, or fewer police on the streets??
So we might see you there on the 18th!