Plans to merge Devon and Cornwall Police and Dorset Police have hit a major stumbling block as the forces’ bosses have been unable to agree a business case.
The two forces’ chief inspectors and police and crime commissioners (PCC) were due to submit a business case for the merger to the Home Office.
But after a meeting of the Alliance Convergence Board, Devon and Cornwall PCC Alison Hernandez said she would not support the case as it stands.
In a statement, Ms Hernandez said members of the Devon and Cornwall Police and Crime Panel and councils had been ‘highly critical’ of the lack of scrutiny the business case had come under so far.
The commissioner also had concerns about the limitations of council tax options available.
The abridged version of the case for the merger will now be made available to the public.
Ms Hernandez added: “I’m not convinced that the huge disruption that a merger would cause is worth the relatively minor savings that it would deliver at a time when our communities want every officer to be completely focused on frontline policing.”
A statement from Devon and Cornwall Police said Devon and Cornwall Chief Constable Shaun Sawyer, his counterpart in Dorset, Chief Constable James Vaughn and Dorset PCC Martyn Underhill had agreed the business case.
It added: “Both chief constables and PCCs agreed the business case, but have not reached a unanimous decision about whether to submit it to the Home Office.
“The Devon and Cornwall PCC’s current view is not to support the submission of the business case to the Home Office and she will be taking it to the Devon and Cornwall Police and Crime Panel meeting for further discussion on Friday 5 October.
“A final decision will be made on Monday, October 8 after both Police and Crime Panel meetings, which are taking place within the next 10 days.”
The plan to merge the two forces was announced in September 2017, and was labelled ‘the only way forward’ to meet funding challenges.
The two forces already have a ‘strategic alliance’, with 25 per cent of force functions working across the three counties.