Future of Police Force Structures in England and Wales

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2015 Police & Justice Service Group Conference
18 June 2015

Conference recognises that the next five years will likely see changes to the structure of police forces in England and Wales. Although the Conservative government claims to have no plans to create force mergers, the onward march of collaboration and the ongoing bite of austerity cuts, which are expected to be no less than were experienced in the last parliament, will surely force changes to the present configuration of policing as we know it.

Conference also acknowledges that:

a)It was the Association of Chief Police Officers’ position that the current 43 force structure is no longer fit for purpose and that the creation of larger regional forces is the way forward.

b)The HMIC report ‘Reshaping Policing for the Public’ on the future of policing under continuing austerity proposes a radical solution to the pressure of cuts, which would see most protective and corporate services regionalised and some protective functions transferred to some form of national provision.

c)The HMIC Efficiency Reference Group is proposing new ways of police forces doing business in order to maximise productivity in a time of further cuts to police budgets.

Conference believes that UNISON’s voice must be heard in the debate which is now starting over the future structure of policing in England and Wales. Our members’ interests and our members’ vital role in delivering policing must be recognised by policy makers and politicians in this debate.

Conference therefore instructs the Service Group Executive and the Police Staff Council Committee to:

1)consult branches to develop a clear UNISON vision of the future of policing in England and Wales, to identify the necessary protections for our members in any change process;

2)identify all forums where the future of police structures are being discussed and seek to engage with key police stakeholders on our vision;

3)seek to ensure that UNISON’s vision is communicated with police leaders, policy makers and government ministers;

4)liaise with UNISON Labourlink to influence the views of PCCs and MPs over our vision for the future of police structures;

5)ask for appropriate negotiating arrangements to be put in place at the Police Staff Council for England and Wales to provide that any proposed changes to police force structures are accompanied by appropriate protections for UNISON police staff members.