The report will also provide alternative solutions

The purpose of this report is to provide an
analysis of the positives and negatives of a potential amalgamation of the 43
Police Forces in England and Wales into one. This report will also provide
alternative solutions to the proposed one; and will also include a personal
recommendation. The issues with the current structure of the police force,
making this report essential to assess the future of Policing in the U.K., is
that the structure is ‘no longer fit for purpose’1 to
protect and serve. It is argued that the force needs to be brought into the 21st
Century in terms of protective services2, such as
effective response to level 2 crime3,
economical value for money and efficiency. 

 

The Report will firstly discuss the
advantages and disadvantages of a full amalgamation of the Police Force. It
will then provide many other suitable options for change, such as the creation
of a regional force. The report will lead through this into an evaluation of a
full amalgamation and reach a recommendation that this will not be the correct
route to go down to improve the Police Service. This report will provide a
recommendation and will argue that a ‘Strategic Force Collaboration’4 is the
best idea. More details of this will be provided in the final recommendation.

 

Advantages of a Full Amalgamation:

 

This section of the Report will now go onto
discuss the various advantages of a full amalgamation of the Police Force in
England and Wales. Significant importance has been placed onto four main
categories of advantages: these are ‘improving the operational effectiveness, efficiency and cost
of delivery’5, and
also establishing a ‘workforce modernisation’6 bringing policing in the
U.K. into the 21st Century.

 

Firstly, ‘in October 2010, the UK Coalition
Government announced a 20 per cent reduction in the Home Office police budget’7 resulting
in shrinking Police sizes and potentially stagnating any progression that could
be made for the force8.
Providing a full amalgamation of the Police force in England and Wales could
potentially save the public purse millions annually, meaning that the austerity
cuts are not as harsh on the police. The recent merger of the eight forces in
Scotland into one force, Police Scotland9, is
estimated to save ‘around £1.7bn over 15 years’10 of public money. In
addition, it is estimated in HMIC ‘Closing the Gap’ report that ‘Direct
savings from merger might amount to £70 million annually’11. This
is a massive amount of money saved from the public purse by amalgamating the
police force. These savings could then potentially be re-invested in the force
allowing it flourish and leading to greater effectiveness, flexibility and
efficiency.

 

Furthermore, modernisation is an essential
advantage to amalgamating the police force into one single force in England and
Wales. By modernisation of the force, this will allow the police force to
respond better to high level crime, such as organised crime or terrorism12, and
will also bring the force into the 21st Century; this will allow
them to deal with new crime, such as cyber-crime. Firstly, criminals do not
respect county or regional borders13 and
therefore, an amalgamation will allow different forces to work better together
on one case, as they are the same fore, rather than having a level of
competitiveness. Also, crime is becoming increasingly transnational each year,
this is placing a ‘high demand on the police to develop an organisational
structure that can operate across geographical borders and is capable of
co-operating with other law enforcement bodies, both nationally and internationally.’14 by having an amalgamated
force this would make this easier as everything from the U.K. police would be
coming from one body, rather than several police forces. This makes various
processes or investigations much more efficient and effective. Furthermore,
cyber-crime is becoming an increasing problem for the Police force. An
amalgamation of the forces could potential reduce the burden of this issue. ‘Cyber-crime makes the notion of jurisdiction less and less
meaningful. Electronic fraudsters will replace the stocking and shotgun robbers
of the past.’15 This is how important it
is for the police to keep control of cyber-crime as it is becoming one of the
most dangers crimes there is. The problem with fighting cybercrime, Hogan
argues, is that ‘there is no real digital strategy’16
between each force. Therefore, an amalgamation would allow the force to share
resources, technology and intelligence to try and increase the fight against
Cyber-crime.

 

Lastly, it is argued that a full amalgamation
of the Police force will create a greater efficiency of resources and
effectivity in the force, such as greater connectivity, especially in terms of
intelligence-sharing. For example, Scott has argue that the creation of a
single police force that ‘can operate across the whole of Scotland’17 has had a great
effectiveness for efficiency of sharing information and working together
throughout the country. Additionally, it is disputed that a larger force will
have a ‘much greater capability’18 to work
effectively and it will ‘significantly enhance the way intelligence is
collected, handled and directed’19 which
is crucial for a good operational force. Hogan argues, that if England and
Wales can ‘Get this right and we can have
simpler, more effective’20 Police
force.

 

Disadvantages of a Full Amalgamation:

 

Moving on, from analysis of various
literature. It is clear to see that there are many disadvantages of a full
amalgamation of the Police force. This assumption can be made due to the recent
amalgamation of the Scottish Police force in 2012. The failures of their force
collaboration can provide the key base for what the negatives of this move are.
From assessment, it can be seen that the issues that arise stem from ‘police governance
and local police operational
level’21; and
this how this section will break down its evaluation.

 

Firstly, it is argued by many academics that
a full amalgamation could ‘seriously impact on Level 1 policing while severely eroding
the effectiveness of the planned implementation of future neighbourhood
policing’22.
This argument comes from the Scottish experience. It can be seen that they had serious
difficulties in early years for the new framework, exposing doubts of loss of
local control with local policing. It became clear that a larger force came
detached and was far more remote from the community that they responded to.
This comes to light despite the fact that the ‘Scottish Police Reform Act requires
local policing’23
to be protected as neighbourhood policing is something that has developed and
has been successful in Scotland. In addition, it can be seen that there was a
strain with ‘local communities and local government’24 due to the centralised
nature of the police force. Local people are best placed to understand what
their area needs, as this changes significantly from place to place. By
weakening this relationship, it created a resentment of the police and has been
argued that officers started to lose familiarity with their area, and knowledge of
local issues.25
This is clearly an issue and disadvantage of this style of Police force; an
issue that would clearly need to be avoided.

 

Furthermore, the other key disadvantage of
the full amalgamation of the police stems from the idea of control, governance
and accountability. This argument is also generated from literature surrounding
the Scottish experience. Many academics have evaluated that the amalgamation of
the Scottish police force has had potential damage to the notion that police
are accountable to local people and local government. ‘Police accountability is a
fundamental aspect of the governance’26 of the Police force in
Scotland. However, the transfer from the tripartite system of governance27 has shifted the power and
control of the police force, and the idea of accountability, has been pushed
away from local government and the people. This ties in with the first point
about local policing; the idea of community has been destroyed by a centralised
police force.

 

Additionally, what could be argued as the reason for this is
the creation of a political interference in policing from centralisation28. The previous tripartite
system of control and management has been altered under the new legislative
framework. The new framework of management comes from the Scottish Police
Authority, who’s members are appointed by Scottish Ministers; and the Police
force is funded by the government through the SPA29. This is clearly an issue
of amalgamation which would need to be avoided in the case of England and
Wales. As the ‘undoubted loser’30 of the new system is
local government and the people, who the police should represent.

 

Alternative Solutions:

 

As well as a full amalgamation of the Police
Force; there are a variety of alternative options that could be undertaken to improve
the effectiveness, efficiency and economical value. The first alternative the
report shall discuss is the idea of a partial amalgamation; as Hogan argues, ‘based on regions’31. This
would involve creating around 9 regionalised forces, based on the ones
currently in use, to improve efficiency and effectiveness, having the ‘lead
force to host the personnel, finance and logistics of the regional protective
services’32. This would involve the collaboration of exiting
forces, much of this is alredy underway; such as ‘the Bedfordshire and
Hertfordshire Major Crime Units merged in 2007’33. Alternatively, another
option that could be explored would be amalgamating the police force
separately: Police England and Police Wales. This would mean the current forces
in Wales would merge into one and be under control from a separate Welsh
control board. This would potentially take away the strain on the English
police budget and amalgamation processes. Furthermore, an alternative option,
to ease the strain on budgetary requirements in England and Wales, could
potentially to open policing markets to privatisation; such as the Lincolnshire
Police–G4S strategic partnership34. This would be a
controversial method, in term of public opinion, but may however reduce the
financial burden on the police force. Lastly, another alternative option would
be a Strategic Force Collaboration: see recommendation for more details.

 

Recommendations/ Conclusion: 

 

In conclusion, this report has evaluated by
the advantages and disadvantages of a full amalgamation of the police and
proposed alternative solutions to solve the police force’s current problems. It
is clear to see from the balancing that the only way forward for the police
force to improve its effectiveness and efficiency (both financial and
operational) is to re-structure into an amalgamated force. This must be done
through a ‘Strategic Force Collaboration’35 to
ensure the best outcome for the Police Force. This method would restructure the
police force to enable the force ‘to provide adequate protective services’36 whilst keeping the BCU’s
of local policing undisrupted37. This option is the best
amalgamation technique that could be used as it will improve effectiveness and
efficiency of protective services for level 2 crime; but will also protect
local policing and improve BCU’s. This is important as ‘BCUs
are the critical building blocks’38 as they
‘deliver the vast bulk of everyday policing services’39 allowing
to build on the arguable failures of the Scottish experience; as local policing
will be encouraged and successful. It is argued that this strategy ‘is the most
radical option’40
, requiring strong leadership and a potentially new scheme of management and
accountability. However, this method would provide a force that is ‘is big
enough to deliver protection, but still small enough to identify with local
communities’41.

1 HMIC, ‘Closing the Gap, A Review of the Fitness for
Purpose of the Current Structure of Policing in England and Wales’ London:
Home Office (2005) 

2 HMIC, ‘Closing the Gap, A Review of the Fitness for
Purpose of the Current Structure of Policing in England and Wales’ London:
Home Office (2005) 

3 Loveday, B. ‘Police Reform: problems of governance and accountability –
management challenges surrounding current proposals for police restructuring’
(2005) Police journal 78(4)

4 HMIC, ‘Closing the Gap, A Review of the Fitness for
Purpose of the Current Structure of Policing in England and Wales’ London:
Home Office (2005) 

5 Harton, B. ‘Challenges,
issues and change: what’s the future for UK policing in the twenty-first
century?’ (2011) The International Journal of Public Sector Management 24(2)

6 Loveday, B. ‘Police Reform: problems of governance and accountability –
management challenges surrounding current proposals for police restructuring’
(2005) Police journal 78(4)

7 White, A. ‘Post-crisis policing and public-private partnerships: the
case of Lincolnshire Police and G4S’ (2014) British Journal of Criminology. 54(6)

8 Loveday, B. ‘Police Reform: problems of governance and accountability –
management challenges surrounding current proposals for police restructuring’
(2005) Police journal 78(4)

9 Police Scotland accessed
2nd January 2018

10 Scott, K.B. ‘A single police
force for Scotland: the legislative framework’ (1) (2013) Policing 7(2)

11 HMIC, ‘Closing the Gap, A Review of the Fitness for Purpose
of the Current Structure of Policing in England and Wales’ London:
Home Office (2005) 

12 Loveday, B. ‘Police Reform: problems of governance and accountability –
management challenges surrounding current proposals for police restructuring’
(2005) Police journal 78(4)

13 Hogan-Howe, B, ‘Cuts without reform put the public at risk’ (2014) The
Guardian
accessed
1st January 2018

 

14 Mawby, R. C. and Wright, A.
‘The police organisation’ in Newburn, T. (eds) Handbook of policing, (Willan 2008)

15 Hogan-Howe, B, ‘Cuts without reform put the public at risk’ (2014) The
Guardian
accessed
1st January 2018

16 Hogan-Howe, B, ‘Cuts without reform put the public at risk’ (2014) The
Guardian
accessed
1st January 2018

17 Scott, K.B. ‘A single police
force for Scotland: the legislative framework’ (2) (2013) Policing 7(2)

18 HMIC, ‘Closing the Gap, A Review of the Fitness for Purpose
of the Current Structure of Policing in England and Wales’ London:
Home Office (2005) 

19 HMIC, ‘Closing the Gap, A Review of the Fitness for Purpose
of the Current Structure of Policing in England and Wales’ London:
Home Office (2005) 

 

20 Hogan-Howe, B, ‘Cuts without reform put the public at risk’ (2014) The
Guardian
accessed
1st January 2018

21 Loveday, B. ‘Police Reform: problems of governance and accountability –
management challenges surrounding current proposals for police restructuring’
(2005) Police journal 78(4)

22 Loveday, B. ‘Police Reform: problems of governance and accountability –
management challenges surrounding current proposals for police restructuring’
(2005) Police journal 78(4)

23 Terpstra, J. and Fyfe, N.R. ‘Mind the implementation gap? Police reform
and local policing in the Netherlands and Scotland’ (2015) Criminology & Criminal Justice 15(5)

 

24 Terpstra, J. and Fyfe, N.R. ‘Mind the implementation gap? Police reform
and local policing in the Netherlands and Scotland’ (2015) Criminology & Criminal Justice 15(5)

25 Scott, K.B. ‘A single police
force for Scotland: the legislative framework’ (2) (2013) Policing 7(2)

26 Scott, K.B. ‘A single police
force for Scotland: the legislative framework’ (1) (2013) Policing 7(2)

27 Scott, K.B. ‘A single police
force for Scotland: the legislative framework’ (2) (2013) Policing 7(2)

28 Scott, K.B. ‘A single police
force for Scotland: the legislative framework’ (2) (2013) Policing 7(2)

29 Scott, K.B. ‘A single police
force for Scotland: the legislative framework’ (2) (2013) Policing 7(2)

 

30 Scott, K.B. ‘A single police
force for Scotland: the legislative framework’ (2) (2013) Policing 7(2)

31 Hogan-Howe, B, ‘Cuts without reform put the public at risk’ (2014) The
Guardian
accessed
1st January 2018

32 HMIC, ‘Closing the Gap, A Review of the Fitness for Purpose
of the Current Structure of Policing in England and Wales’ London:
Home Office (2005) 

33 Mawby, R. C. and Wright, A.
‘The police organisation’ in Newburn, T. (eds) Handbook of policing, (Willan 2008)

34 White, A. ‘Post-crisis policing and public-private partnerships: the
case of Lincolnshire Police and G4S’ (2014) British Journal of Criminology. 54(6)

 

35 HMIC, ‘Closing the Gap, A Review of the Fitness for Purpose
of the Current Structure of Policing in England and Wales’ London:
Home Office (2005) 

36 Loveday, B. ‘Police Reform: problems of governance and accountability –
management challenges surrounding current proposals for police restructuring’
(2005) Police journal 78(4)

37 HMIC, ‘Closing the Gap, A Review of the Fitness for Purpose
of the Current Structure of Policing in England and Wales’ London:
Home Office (2005) 

38 HMIC, ‘Closing the Gap, A Review of the Fitness for Purpose
of the Current Structure of Policing in England and Wales’ London:
Home Office (2005) 

39 HMIC, ‘Closing the Gap, A Review of the Fitness for Purpose
of the Current Structure of Policing in England and Wales’ London:
Home Office (2005) 

40 HMIC, ‘Closing the Gap, A Review of the Fitness for Purpose
of the Current Structure of Policing in England and Wales’ London:
Home Office (2005) 

41 HMIC, ‘Closing the Gap, A Review of the Fitness for Purpose
of the Current Structure of Policing in England and Wales’ London:
Home Office (2005)