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Labour reveals its policing plans for 2015 election

Police UniformThe Labour Party is considering merging police forces and axing police and crime commissioners if it wins the 2015 general election.

Chris Leslie, shadow chief secretary to the Treasury, has said police forces may be merged in cases where there is local agreement, and where it saves money and offers benefits to the public.

PCCs, who are paid between £65,000 and £100,000 per year, may also be scrapped if they are not providing value to the taxpayer, he said.

“Reform is worse than pointless if it does not improve the experience of the user and ends up costing money rather than saving money,” said Mr Leslie, during a speech in London.

“Long-term and sustainable budget savings can only be made if we reform public services while delivering standards that people need and expect. We are looking not only at where efficiencies are achievable, but how services could be reconstituted to release the cashable savings that are now required.”

Mr Leslie’s comments follow a report, commissioned by the Labour Party, in which former Metropolitan Police Commissioner Lord Stevens called for all 41 police and crime commissioners elected in England and Wales in 2012 to be abolished.

Lord Stevens suggested three options for English forces, including voluntary mergers, a reduction from 43 to 10 regional police forces or a national service.

Labour has pledged to stick to the coalition’s spending plans for the first year of the next Parliament if it wins the next election, but it is also considering Lord Stevens’ recommendations.

The Conservative Party has insisted that its own economic plan is “the only way to deliver a better future” and that the current government is taking the “difficult decisions our country needs”.

A spokesman for the Tories said: “We have made good progress, saving £10bn from efficiencies in central government last year alone and the record deficit we inherited is down by a third. Labour would put this all at risk with more borrowing, more spending and more taxes.”

Date posted: March 13, 2014

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