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Dorset Police Plans to Combine with Neighbouring Force

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7:41am 20th December 2013

Dorset Police are officially going to explore a partnership with Devon and Cornwall.

It's been announced that a joint project team will look at how the two forces could collaborate across all areas of policing.

The announcement marks the start of a 6 month process to see how Dorset Police could combine with Devon and Cornwall.

Police and Crime Commissioner Martyn Underhill says both forces face real challenges to make further savings and this can't go on forever without impacting on the communities they serve.

Its claimed the alliance won't have a detrimental impact on police services on the ground - and all forces remain committed to neighbourhood policing.

Chief Constable Debbie Simpson said: "The decision to explore how Dorset and Devon and Cornwall Police can better work together has come about because both forces are determined to put the public first while identifying the necessary savings.  Both forces are strong performers and have broadly similar policing styles - there is also considerable trust between the two organisations. This considered, we believe that taking a detailed look at our joint working arrangements is the correct thing to do."

Police and Crime Commissioner for Dorset, Martyn Underhill, said: "Budget restrictions faced by policing across the region are significant. Both Forces are faced with 'real challenges' to achieve further savings above and over what has already been made. This process cannot go on indefinitely. It is not possible to continually withdraw resources from the Force areas without it affecting the communities we serve. We have examined all options carefully to provide efficient policing across the region and are continuing to seek viable solutions. We have agreed to explore the concept of a strategic alliance and I look forward to working with Devon and Cornwall in the months ahead, in determining whether this is the right decision for Dorset."

Police and Crime Commissioner for Devon and Cornwall, Tony Hogg said: "I have always said that collaboration is a key element to maintaining effective policing. There is a financial imperative to provide a continued policing service despite reducing funding, which means that we have to look at new ways to deliver our services. We are not content to see further reductions in the service we provide to our communities in order to make budget cuts and we share a desire to invest in our capability despite challenging budgets."

Chief Constable of Devon and Cornwall Police, Shaun Sawyer said: "I fully understand that some officers and staff may feel unsettled by this announcement, however, I strongly feel this is the right thing for us to explore.  We all have a duty to provide the very best service we can to our communities.  The two forces share similar geography, history and values, with a mix of urban, rural and coastal communities. I believe that by working closely with our colleagues in Dorset, we have the opportunity to preserve the local policing that both our communities enjoy and demand."

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