1. There remain a number of serious concerns over
the financial arrangements for any new all Wales police force.
The financial forecasts drawn up by the Chief Constables, and
the inability of the Police Minister to fully allay their fears
does not fill us with confidence in the financial viability of
any all Wales police force. Until the Minister demonstrates beyond
any doubt that an all Wales police force will be financially viable,
in the medium to long term, we will not be able to support the
2. We conclude that an all Wales police force
is no longer a credible option. (paragraph
The Government notes the Committee's view. The Home
Secretary announced on 19 June that the Government did not intend
to press ahead with enforced mergers of police forces and the
notices of intention to merge which were issued on 3 March by
the then Home Secretary to forces in Wales have been withdrawn.
On 31 July, the Minister for Policing, Security and
Community Safety, Tony McNulty, wrote to all police forces and
police authorities in England and Wales setting out the way forward
on protective services and inviting them to develop proposals
on how to improve protective services. Tony McNulty is engaged
in ongoing dialogue with the Welsh forces and police authorities
on this issue.
HMIC will set the benchmarks for the standards to
be achieved and monitor progress on their delivery.
3. Nonetheless, last year the four Welsh police
forces were presented with a fait accompli to plan and organise
for an all Wales force. Despite their concerns, they worked towards
that end. Those efforts, and the resources committed to achieve
that goal, appear to have been wasted. It would be wholly unacceptable
for the four Welsh forces to suffer financially as a result of
that wasted expenditure. We recommend that the Home Office ensures
that the resources expended by the four Welsh forces on this failed
policy in no way affects their financial planning for the current
financial year. We expect a clear commitment to that effect from
the Home Office in its response to this report. (paragraph
The Government is grateful for the work which police
forces and police authorities in Wales did to prepare for the
possibility of merger. Much of this work will be useful as forces
work together to improve protective services.
On 24 July the Home Office wrote to police forces
and police authorities to indicate that the Government would be
prepared to make a contribution to the additional costs which
they had incurred in preparing for mergers. An announcement on
how we propose to settle the claims for the additional costs will
be made shortly.