Northamptonshire Police could have a “full alliance” with two neighbouring forces by 2020, it has been announced.
The county force has been in talks with Leicestershire and Nottinghamshire about forming an alliance since Police and Crime Commissioners and Chief Constables for the three forces agreed to consider the move last year.
They have now asked for a detailed blueprint setting out what operational policing in the three counties will look like.
This follows a business case that outlined some of the potential benefits of an alliance, including reduced duplication and bureaucracy, unified command structures and the advantages of operating in a borderless environment.
The three PCCs and Chief Constables approved the move to the next stage when they met last Thursday (24 March).
Northamptonshire’s PCC Adam Simmonds said the creation of a Strategic Alliance could provide huge benefits both in the way policing is funded across the three counties and the quality of the service to local people.
He said: “I’ve always been committed to protecting front-line policing, believing local people want officers to be visible and accountable to them through their neighbourhood policing teams and I won’t change my view on that.
“But policing has changed irrevocably in recent years as forces have adapted to reduced budgets and the challenges of 21st Century crime.
“Whether it is protecting us from terrorism, tackling the scourge of child sexual exploitation or combating cyber-crime, I believe the police can deal with these hugely important issues far more effectively if they work together with other forces.”
The Commissioner said police budgets would continue to shrink as forces faced further austerity challenges both now and in the future.
He said: “If we can find ways of working co-operatively to provide higher quality policing, then we can also deliver the savings required to retain local neighbourhood policing teams.”
The blueprint will be developed by a project team made up of senior officers and staff from the three forces. When it is finished it will be tested by practitioners from the three forces to ensure it is the most efficient and effective way of operating.
Northamptonshire’s Chief Constable Simon Edens said: “We believe the benefits of a Strategic Alliance far outweigh those any one force might achieve on their own. Not only does it allow significant financial savings, which will enable us to reinvest in the areas of greatest threat and risk, but it will also improve the overall service that we can offer the public, by introducing better ways of working together.”
If the blueprint proves to be viable, a full alliance could be in place by 2020.