Nick O'Shea

Former Lib Dem councillor for Capel and Newdigate Learn more

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Surrey police should share more services with Sussex police

by Nick O'Shea on 19 September, 2012

“Surrey police need to work more with their colleagues in Sussex,” Nick O’Shea, Liberal Democrat candidate for Police & Crime Commissioner in Surrey said at a meeting with local councillors and residents in Mole Valley last night.

Mr O’Shea’s comments came after Surrey Chief Constable Lynne Owens called for force mergers as a way to reduce costs, although she too ruled out merger with Sussex constabulary. Last week, Surrey police authority abandoned a project to work with West Midlands police and private sector partners in a business partnership project widely seen as likely to result in privatisation of some police services.

“Increasing financial pressure on the police budget, the need to make Surrey police more effective and to improve their detection rates in particular mean that we have to make every pound count,” added Mr O’Shea.

“One way to do that is to share more services and operations with colleagues in Sussex, who we are already working closely with in a number of areas such as major crime investigations and fire arms. There should be no insurmountable barriers to increased collaboration over back-office tasks such as HR and procurement, and having shared resources such as joint custody suites or IT systems.

“The public would not be happy with complete merger of the two forces, but to share scarce and costly assets with our neighbours makes a whole lot of sense at a time of cost restraint and when everyone else is having to tighten their belts.

“We would still have Surrey officers patrolling Surrey’s streets and villages. The only effect members of the public would see at a local level would be better quality of service and response as more of the available funds are made available for front-line policing and back-up services are improved.”

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